Tonnato is the sauce part of the dish, vitello tonnato. This is a tuna based sauce that is thick and delicious, and can be served in a multitude of ways.
In Piedmont, Italy, you may find vitello tonnato on the menu, to be served as secondi. This main course dish consists of leg of veal which has been braised and thinly sliced. It is served cold, topped with a sauce made from tuna and mayonnaise. Italian immigrants to South America serve vitel toné as part of their Christmas meal. It may be served as an antipasto for a fancy dinner party.
How to make the sauce?
Traditionally, fresh white tuna is simmered until cooked in a liquid of white wine and vinegar. To that, onion and garlic are added as aromatics. But, as is common in restaurants, using tinned tuna is more economical. And it will take much less time to make. To make this authentically, you would add the tuna to a food processor and purée it with egg yolks, olive oil and vegetable oil until it forms a thick mayonnaise. Personally, I find it easier to just add mayonnaise which I make at home each week. To this, anchovies, capers and lemon juice are added. You could even add cayenne pepper if you want yours to have a kick! The sauce should be left in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop.
Do I need veal?
As we don’t get veal here, I did not even think to make this as a traditional dish. I also did not create this recipe to serve with any cold meat. We were having a meze meal for Christmas with pescatarians, and this sounded like the perfect dip to be scooped up with flatbreads. And it was! Not only did the tonnato get used this way, it was also used to top the meatballs I had made. There were three on offer, lamb, venison and chicken. And the sauce went well with all three. So, the answer is no, you do not need veal. Make this sauce to serve as you wish, or as a dip for crudités.
Take a look at this inspiring recipe for ♥ Tonnato ♥ from Lavender and Lime #LavenderAndLime Click To Tweet
Click on the links for conversions and notes.
- 120 g tinned tuna (drained weight)
- 30 mls lemon juice
- 20 g capers
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 100 g mayonnaise
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
- Place the tina, lemon juice, capers and anchovies into a blender and purée until smooth
- Add the mayonnaise, season generously and blend to combine
- Place into the fridge for at least an hour for the flavours to develop
See the links below for blog posts I published on February 13:
- 2022: Snow Country
- 2019: Augusta De Mist
- 2017: Dairy Free Smoothie
- 2015: A Better Tomorrow Book Run
- 2013: Eat Out DSTV Food Network Festival 2013
- 2012: An Evening With Rawlicious