Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tonnato, the versatile tuna mayonnaise

Tonnato sauce / Tonnato-kaste (tuunikalamajonees)

Vitello tonnato is a popular summer-time dish in Italy, originating in the 19th century Piedmont. Cold thin slices of cooked veal are topped with a creamy tuna and anchovy dressing. I love the classic version a lot, but the tuna mayonnaise is much more versatile. It's been a frequent visitor in our kitchen this spring, and I've given below the recipe I've come to love. I especially like it on top of crisp crostini slices, but it's also a good dressing for some left-over boiled eggs.

What's your favourite tonnato recipe and dish?

Crostini with tuna mayonnaise, garnished with caperberries (Suupisted tuunikalamajoneesiga):
Ciabatta with tonnato spread / Saiaviilud tuunikalamajoneesiga

Vitello tonnato aka cold veal slices with tuna mayonnaise (Vasikalihalõigud tuunikalamajoneesiga). That's the classic way of serving tonnato:

Vitello tonnato / Vasikaliha tuunikalamajoneesiga

Uova tonnata or boiled eggs with tuna mayonnaise, garnished with some capers and lemon zest (Munad tuunikalamajoneesiga):
Uova tonnata / Muna tuunikalamajoneesiga

Tonnato aka Italian tuna mayonnaise
Serves 4

Note that I make my tonnato from scratch and not cheating by simply mixing mayonnaise with canned tuna :)

Tonnato sauce / Tonnato-kaste (tuunikalamajonees)

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 anchovy fillets in oiled
juice of half or whole lemon
10 salted capers, rinsed and drained
1 shallot, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
150-200 ml mild olive oil
200 g good-quality tuna chunks in oil

Place egg yolks, capers, anchovy fillets, juice of half a lemon, chopped shallot and some black pepper into the bowl of a hand-held blender. Blend until you've got a thick paste of uniform consistency.
Add oil in a thin stream, still blending the mixture.
Finally add the tuna chunks and blitz a little bit more.
Taste for seasoning - add more pepper, lemon juice or perhaps salt.


thepassionatecook said...

now that's really interesting... i love a good vitello tonnato (and had an appalling version of it here at carluccios, so need to make my own from now on)... i would never have thought of pairing it with egg, but i can so see (and taste ;-) that work - that will be on this list for the next easter brunch (not that i am making a lit for that already, i have other lists to compile at the moment ;-))

~~louise~~ said...

I've often had the desire to make home made Vitello tonnato. I've experienced some excellent examples in a few restaurants and some dreadful ones I'm afraid. My family is from Naples and Sicily. If memory serves me correctly, I think my paternal grandmother may have compiled this dish in my youth. (I don't think I liked it as a kid:) Is that possible?

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. The tuna mayo is intriguing in its own right. I'll be saving this for sure.

Pille, I know we just "met", but I would like to invite you to play the Picnic Game over at my blog. Here's the link if you would like to join us. Hope to "see" you there:)

Magdalena said...

I believe I like the most the classical version. I could have it with eggs, too. Or even with baby potatoes in summertime.

Pille said...

Johanna - the sauce is pretty versatile indeed!

Louise - so sorry I didn't make it to the Picnic game this time - loved the idea, though!!!

Magdalena - vitello tonnato is excellent, but do give other uses a go!

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Pille,
Maybe next year:) If you get a chance, I posted the round-up. Simply amazing!

I'm off to check out your grilled chicken!

Devant said...

I use this sauce for many recipes, mainly roasted pork chops, roasted chicken and even on bread, served on parties.

I use commercial mayonnaise and add a couple egg yolks and cappari.

My mother and aunt are Sicilian, and taught me the recipe, but I changed it around to fit Greek cuissine.