AppetizerDavid Scott AllenProvencal RecipesTaste

Easy Tuna Appetizer: Pâté au Thon

In David’s Cocoa and Lavender post for Pâté au Thon he turns ordinary canned tuna into a masterpiece. The full recipe is below for what might just become your go-to “impress the guests” appetizer.

Tuna Appetizer pate au thon Tastes Provence @CocoaandLavender

Pâté au thon

An easy recipe that can be prepared the day before, and the extra (few) steps for decorating will ensure your guests rave about your abilities in the kitchen.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 6 People


  • 2 10oz cans Canned White Tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 16 tbsp Unsalted Butter softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (35%)
  • 1 lemon for finely grated zest
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne
  • 6 Anchovy fillets drained
  • 3 tbsp capers rinsed and drained
  • Sea Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika optional (for garnish)
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Parsley finely chopped, optional (for garnish)
  • Toast or crackers for serving


  • Line a 5 1/2-inch by 3 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of overhang.  
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tuna, butter, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, cayenne, anchovies and the 3 tablespoons of capers.
  • Season with salt and pepper and process until smooth.
  • Spoon the pâté into the loaf pan and smooth the top.
  • Spoon any remaining pâté into a small crock for a more casual presentation.
  • Cover with the loaf pan overhanging pieces of plastic wrap, and cover the crock with additional plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Unwrap and unmold the pâté onto a serving dish.
  • Optional: To decorate the unmolded pâté , place two pieces of paper – approximately 5-inches by 2 inches – on top of the pâté about 1/4 inch apart, pressing slightly to get good, clean edges.
  • Sprinkle the paprika on the1/4-inch strip of pâté, then gently remove the paper on both sides.
  • Cut a 5-inch by 1/4-inch strip of paper to cover the paprika.
  • Press the chopped parsley onto the pâté, and remove the strip of paper covering the paprika.
  • Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with toast or crackers.


This is an easy appetizer that can be prepared the day before, with minimal fuss the day of. However, David is certain that using tuna packed in olive oil (not water) is the key to making sure this dish has the best flavour.
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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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