Late Fall Potato and Tuna Salad

The events of last week in Paris and Beirut are still fresh in our minds. The world feels unsettled and scary. The news is filled with plans and reactions to it all—fears and threats of violent retaliation being the loudest. But today I heard a snippet of an interview from a man whose name I regret I did not catch. He represented an organized group of survivors of terrorism. This group’s mission is to create and promote peaceful means of combatting the roots of terrorism. They promote tolerance and love. They promote learning about the people who we fear the most. They promote compassion. While expressing compassion for world leaders who are faced with the difficult task of immediate action, they ask that violent reactions not be made in their name, on their behalf. These people, who know the violence firsthand, do not want to become like their perpetrators. I admire their generosity. I love their compassion. I share it.

One of the reasons I love the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi is because it comes from a place of compassion. Both men own successful restaurants in London. Both grew up in Jerusalem. One is Palestinian. One Jewish. Their cookbook represents finding commonality in the tastes and textures of the place they grew up. It represents seeing each other as human, finding their common voice through the passion they share for the foods of their youth.

This  Late Fall Potato and Tuna Salad is based on a recipe from Jerusalem. Potatoes are simmered in water spiced with a bit of turmeric. When finished, the tender potatoes have a golden color thanks to the turmeric. Tossed with harissa, capers and additional spices, they are then topped with chunks of tuna, salty olives and brilliant, roasted red peppers. Filled with many disparate tastes and textures, this dish is as beautiful as it is delicious..

With American Thanksgiving just around the corner, I wish you peace. May you and your loved ones know bounty and joy.

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.


Late Fall Potato and Tuna Salad

Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons harissa
  • 4 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted
  • 5 ounces canned roasted red peppers, cut into slivers
  • 10 ounces tuna packed in oil, flaked
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Handful fresh parsley, rinsed and lightly chopped


  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water and add the turmeric. Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until they are done, ten to fifteen minutes. Drain and keep warm.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, place the anchovies, harissa and capers in a large bowl. When the potatoes are ready, put the warm potatoes in the bowl and toss all the ingredients together. Allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place the potatoes in the center of a large serving platter. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Add the olives, roasted peppers and tuna decoratively to the platter. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Garnish with parsley.
  4. Serve and enjoy.


  1. This recipe is adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Their recipe is called Fricassee Salad. It includes the addition of 4 large hard boiled eggs and some salad greens. 
  2. Harissa is a ground chili paste. If you prefer the dish less spicy, use a smaller amount or leave it out.
  3. For a full meal, serve with pita bread, prepared hummus, and a bowl of rice or couscous.

Dena Testa Bray has been writing Gathering Flavors, a culinary blog, since 2011. She is a trained chef & ran a home based cooking school. Dena now designs websites, focusing on work with creative people. You can see her website work at She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and family.