The Ftira – A Mediterranean Sandwich
I have made a very special friend here in Malta. Her name is Michelle. I have made a few friends here and I value each of them. People here are so beautiful and kind. I spend the most time with Michelle. She takes me out driving and tries to help me learn the roads and overcome my fear of them. She was also the swim instructor for the girls so we saw her often. I look forward to springtime so those lessons can resume. She is also someone with an absolute heart of gold and so pure of love and energy that I just love being around her, so I try to make time to be sure that this happens as often as possible. Her family opened a new cafe this year just before Covid hit. It was February of this year that Aquatica Cafe and Lounge opened and only one month later they had to close due to the virus. They have only been open again since June. It is incredibly stressful finally opening your dream cafe only to have it shut down and open back up again. We went to eat there this past weekend as a family and to visit with their family. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is quaint, clean and very pleasant. This is what prompted me to ask her what she makes for her son for lunch, because who better than she?
Please go like it even if you haven’t come to visit me in Malta yet!
The other day Michelle took me to the store and taught me how to make a very common sandwich known as the Ftira. We got into this conversation because I asked her what she makes for her sons lunch every day. It’s hard to know what to pack for the kids. There is no cafeteria here, lunch is on you. Also, the children eat in their classrooms together and not in a lunch room, even without Covid. I think this alleviates a ton of anxiety for the children and am fully on board with it. She told me that she makes a Ftira for her son every morning. And naturally, I asked how to do it. My girls have one with butter on the bread for Ava and a ham and cheese one for Hannah. But, for Scott, this was a big hit and now I’m starting to play around with it a little bit more.
You should know that bread in Malta is subsidized by the government so that everyone can at least afford bread daily. This beautiful big bread is only .80 cents. The one I will show you in this blog is a traditional one made with tuna, peppered goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, cucumbers, a special paste they use which is basically tomato paste, green olives, capers, fresh dried mint and a little bit of curry powder. Once you go to the store and buy the fresh ingredients from the deli, making the sandwich is super easy. I took some photos of the process as well as a quick video: 1) because I love the Maltese accent and I wanted you all to get to hear it since I describe it as a ‘sing songy’ way of speaking English and 2) so you could see the deliciousness that is the Ftira.
We put the red paste on first in little batches around the bread. Then I added siracha because I was making it for Scott. Then we did tuna in little bits all around followed by the tomatoes and cucumbers. Then we did the sprinkle of the mint over that along with a little bit of salt. Next we added the peppered goat cheese (a specialty cheese of Gozo island the little island of Malta), then capers and olives. Last we sprinkled the curry powder just enough to not know what the extra flavor was. I give you the traditional Maltese Ftira and hope that it inspires you to go make one of your own!
VIDEO of the FTIRA!