Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer
Tonnato Sauce is best if it’s made at least 2 hours before serving so the favors can meld thoroughly. If you can’t wait, don’t worry, Tonnato Sauce is delicious even if made and served immediately. My favorite way to eat Tonnato Sauce is with vegetables hot out of the oven or steamer. I pile Tonnato Sauce mid-plate and surround it with vegetables for an easy, delicious dinner. I also like keeping a jar of Tonnato Sauce in the refrigerator to pair with cold, leftover vegetables for a great lunch or tasty snack (leftover broccoli is particularly good with tonnato). As an appetizer, Tonnato Sauce makes a wonderful dipping sauce for a platter of raw vegetables.
7-ounce can tuna packed in olive oil, drained
4 anchovy fillets (2 salt-packed anchovies, cleaned)
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
3-4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Put all ingredients in blender or food processor, using only 3 Tbsp. lemon juice. Blend until sauce is smooth, stopping and scraping down sides of blender at least once, to make sure all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Taste and add remaining lemon juice, as needed.
Serve Tonnato Sauce with roasted, steamed, or microwaved vegetables, with pan-fried or steamed fish, or with cold sliced veal, pork tenderloin, turkey, or chicken.
Note on Mayonnaise: Most modern recipes for Tonnato Sauce include mayonnaise. I prefer the original formulation of the sauce, which used only olive oil and no eggs; it allows the other ingredients’ special flavors to shine more brightly.
Note on Microwaving Vegetables: Although I prefer oven-roasting, when in a time pinch, the microwave is an excellent option for cooking vegetables. In my microwave, whole medium-sized beets cook in about 10 minutes and broccoli in about 3 minutes. The microwave allows me to make an entire meal of tonnato, vegetables, and fish in 20 minutes. Since oven-roasting beets takes at least an hour, the microwave saves a significant amount of time.