Tunisian-inspired tuna sandwich (“fricassé” in a baguette)

There are several small Tunisian shops around our place. One of them makes the best Mlawis and Fricassés in town. The Mlawis I will talk about some other time ; but I will tell you all about fricassés.

A fricassé is a traditional Tunisian savory doughnut. It is often served at Tunisian bakeries or fast-food outlets. The dough balls are seared in oil, then opened and stuffed with boiled potatoes, harissa, tuna, black olives, a hard-boiled egg, and méchouia salad (cooked salad with tomatoes, peppers, chillies and onions).

Yes, making a fricassé is a labor of love, and involves making and frying bread. I decided to try for a simpler fricassé-inspired recipe, where the bread would simply be some fresh baguette.

Since we’re sadly not yet is summer, I traded the méchouia salad with a simple cucumber salad with olive oil. I opted for a fresh feel in this sandwich, and added preserved lemon and cilantro to the filling. Other than that, I stayed true to the original recipe !

This was definitely a sandwich to be remembered, and we loved it here. The harissa brings the right amount of heat and the typical flavour that pairs so well with potatoes and olives ; the lemon, cucumber and cilantro make the sandwich refreshing, despite it being quite filling. This tunisian-inspired sandwich is also so satisfying in terms of textures, with its overall softness (soft potatoes, tuna, egg…) that contrast with the crunchy cucumber.

It is not the quickest sandwich to make because of the potatoes boiling time, but you’ll be all set within 45 minutes !

Tunisian-inspired tuna sandwich – Ingredients

You can find Beldi preserved lemons in local specialty grocery stores, especially small Arab produce stores.

Let’s sandwich !

Tunisian-inspired tuna sandwich (“fricassé” in a baguette)

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 30 min Total Time 45 mins
Servings: 2
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year



  1. Prep your ingredients !

    Half-fill a pot with water, then bring to a boil. Add 1 tbsp of salt, your potatoes, and cook for 30 minutes (or until soft).

    10 minutes to the end, add your eggs along with the potatoes.

    While it all cooks, prep your ingredients. Dice your cucumber, halve your olives. Mince your Beldi lemon and your cilantro.

    In a bowl, mix your cucumber, your olives, and your lemon with olive oil and 1/2 tbsp salt (more if needed). Add your tuna ; mix.

    When ready, peel then quarter your eggs. Peel your potatoes and cut them in 2 to 3 parts, lengthwise.

    Your cucumber dices should be quite small, around 1x1 cm. Try to mince your Beldi lemon thinly so that you don't get big acidic chunks.
  2. Make your sandwich !

    Use half a baguette per person. Slice it open lengthwise, careful not to go all the way and break the sandwiches in two split parts.

    Spread some harissa first (around 3 tbsp per person) on the bottom and top parts of the sandwich.

    Add half your potatoes, squishing with your fork as you do, along with a pinch of salt.

    Add your tuna mixture, then your eggs, with a pinch of salt on the eggs.

    Top it off with some cilantro, some pickles if using, maybe a few whole olives if you love em.

    Et voilà !! You're done !

Keywords: home made, sandwich, tunisian, fricasse, harissa, baguette, olives, preserved lemon, oriental, oriental sandwich
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