Tonnato Sauce

24 Jul

Lori and I first had the pleasure of tasting Tonnato sauce when traveling in Piedmont, Italy. It’s tuna and lemon Imagebased, with anchovy and caper flavors, nice on boiled eggs as an appetizer or on cold chicken, turkey, veal or pork sliced thinly. Traditionally the meat would be poached, but cook it any way you want and let it cool…especially nice on a warm (or hot) day. Tonnato sauce also is great for dipping in raw vegetables. The picture is a cold plate dinner on a hot summer evening of sliced chicken, raw veggies and tonnato sauce with a rose of Pinot Noir.

Tonnato Sauce

1 4-oz can of oil packed tuna (not drained)

4 teaspoons of capers (drained)

1 tsp of anchovy paste (or 3 fillets)

3 teaspoons of lemon juice

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons of lemon juice (or use lemon olive oil and leave out the lemon).

2-3 tablespoons of water (white wine, broth or other liquid)

Salt and pepper

Put the tuna, capers, anchovy paste, lemon juice (if using), and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a food processor and puree for about 11/2 minutes until very smooth. Slowly pour the olive oil into the feed tube with the motor running and then the same with the other liquid until the sauce in thick (put pourable). Cool for at least an hour in the fridge.

Wine Pairings: A Jacquere (yes, that’s the grape) from Savoie, Fr., was an excellent pairing with the tonnato sauce on boiled egg. Jacquere is a crisp white so, for instance, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio (etc.) will pair well. With a cold protein (see above), a rose on the full-bodied side (a rose of Pinot Noir worked well for us, see picture)), or any red with minimal tannins.

Variations: Add other ingredients you like to the food processor, such as Dijon mustard (a bridge to Pinot Noir) hot pepper flakes or sauce (think zinfandel or a wine with a little sweetness, like Riesling or Gewurztraminer).


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