A dab of tuna sauce peeked out from underneath a glistening pile of deep red beets. My mouth started watering in anticipation. At Artusi Bar in Seattle, “baby beets with salsa tonnata” tasted as good as it looked. The piquant Mediterranean flavors of tuna, anchovies, and capers were a brilliant partner for the deep earthiness of roasted beets.
A rush of happy memories accompanied my first bite of Artusi’s tonnato. My dad loved it in its traditional form, paired with cold sliced veal, as Vitello Tonnato. When I visited my parents in the last years of my dad’s life, my mother made it regularly. While we savored the ingenious combination of veal and tuna, my dad regaled us with stories of Italy and his beloved friend Giovanni.
My husband and I once visited Giovanni in Italy. He gave us a tour of my dad’s favorite places (a trip dubbed “Following in the Footsteps of Santo Earlo,” Earl being my dad’s name). At Giovanni’s insistence we duplicated my dad’s journeys as closely as possible, which meant no, I couldn’t stop for shopping, because Santo Earlo had done no such thing. I’m still smarting over the Carrara marble I couldn’t buy when Giovanni ignored my pleas to stop at a store near where Michelangelo’s statue David was quarried.
Luckily, Santo Earlo loved to eat, so we dined well on our trip with Giovanni, and enjoyed more than one serving of Vitello Tonnato. I never eat it without thinking of my dad.
This recipe is seriously good. Even if you think you don’t like one of the ingredients, trust me, you’ll never know it’s there after Tonnato Sauce comes out of the blender. Don’t leave anything out; all ingredients are essential to Tonnato’s flavor.
The vegetables I served last week with my Tonnato Sauce came from Full Circle Farm (FCF), an organic produce delivery service and grower located in Carnation, Washington. FCF delivers weekly organic produce boxes throughout Alaska.
My regular readers and friends know I’m a long-time subscriber to FCF; I’ve frequently written about its produce.Recently, I was asked by FCF to “help get the word out” about its services and “share my experiences” with FCF in exchange for a one-time small fee. Sure, I said, no problem. (I received no compensation of any kind from FCF until this month.)
The reasons I’ve subscribed to FCF’s service for nearly 5 years are:
- it delivers high quality organic produce,
- I can suspend the service at any time for 1 week or for the whole summer,
- I get notice in advance of what’s in the coming box and can change and adjust the box contents to suit my taste and mood,
- in addition to the items that come in the box, FCF has a virtual grocery/produce store where I can order extra produce, herbs, and organic grocery items (meat, eggs, milk, etc.), and
- FCF has excellent customer service — if anything I receive is below my standards FCF immediately issues a credit to my account, no questions asked.
In a November 2007 post, I explained other reasons I use FCF:
1. Except in the summer when farmers’ markets are open, I get higher quality organic produce than I can buy locally and the price is comparable or better.
2. Because I have a refrigerator full of produce after my box arrives, and I hate having food go to waste, we eat significantly more vegetables than we do when I shop only at local supermarkets.
3. It’s easier for me to decide what to cook for dinner when I have produce in the refrigerator to inspire me. Coming up with dinner ideas is the worst part of cooking. As Peg Bracken once said, “It’s the dailiness of it” that makes menu-making difficult. The regular struggle for meal ideas is now a thing of the past.
I buy produce from FCF because it provides tasty fruit and vegetables for a fair price and, in so doing, has simplified my life.
For more information about FCF, check out its website here.