Tuna School

20 Jul

The Frugal Gourmet introduced us to tonnato sauce; that elegant Italian take on tuna sauce for veal or turkey.
It changed our thinking about tinned tuna and its aptitude for smooth dips and sauces.

Our first effort was a can of tuna blended with olive oil, salt, kalamata olives and lemon. It was pure bliss. Mayo, capers, and lemon on their own would be great also.

The NYT serves it on sliced summer tomatoes.

Essentially tuna salad put into the blender until it liquefies” is how Melissa Clark described tonnato sauce back in 2012, when she brought this recipe to The Times, with the caveat that “it tastes much better than it sounds.” The method is as simple as can be: The sauce is whipped together in a blender (though a food processor would also work), then spread over some fresh tomatoes. It’s the best kind of summer meal — fresh and seasonal, easy and packed with flavor.

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 three-ounce can imported tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons drained capers

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 anchovy fillets, optional

1 fat garlic clove, smashed and peeled

2 tablespoons tightly packed basil leaves, more for garnish

2 pounds mixed tomatoes, large ones cut in slices, small ones cut in wedges

 Coarse sea salt

 Black pepper

 Crusty bread, for serving

In a blender, combine olive oil, tuna, mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic and 2 tablespoons basil and purée until creamy.

Lay tomatoes out on a platter and spoon sauce over the tops. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper and garnish with basil leaves. Serve with bread.

So here we have a study of the Frug’s tonnato mayo, an elegant tuna mousse, a cold tonnato turkey salad and a startlingly stylish roast rolled turkey with tonnato sauce to be served chilled to room temperature.

Very summertime, non?

Source: Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet

1 7-oz can tuna packed in water
8 canned flat anchovies, drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons brandy
3/4 cup olive oil, room temperature
dash of Tabasco
1 tablespoon capers
Place the tuna, anchovies, and lemon juice in a blender. Blend until all are mixed together.
Add Tabasco. Slowly pour in the olive oil as the machine runs. Remove the sauce from the container and stir in capers. Serve over meats (cold roast chicken or a turkey breast), vegetables, pasta, or salads.


1 3 oz can white tuna – flaked
1 clove garlic – minced
2 anchovy fillets – minced (opt)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup yogurt -or- sour cream
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups turkey – cooked and diced
2 medium potatoes – cooked, peeled, cubed
1 bunch arugula – or watercress
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup black olives
2 tablespoons parsley – coarsely chopped

For dressing, puree tuna with garlic, anchovies, mayonnaise and sour cream or yogurt. Season with pepper.
For salad, combine diced turkey with cooked potatoes.
Mix with 1/2 of dressing.

Taste for seasoning. Arrange arugula or watercress on large plate. Mound potato and turkey mixture in centre. Arrange slices of turkey on top of chopped salad. Drizzle remaining dressing.
Arrange tomatoes and olives around outside of the salad and sprinkle with parsley



•1 boned; rolled and tied turkey breast (3 1/2-pound)
•3 anchovies; cut into 1/2-inch pieces
•1 large garlic clove; slivered
•2 can(s) chicken broth; (14 1/2-ounce)
•2 cup(s) dry white wine
•2 onions; quartered
•2 carrots; cut into 2-inch pieces
•4 fresh parsley sprigs
•2 bay leaves

•1 can(s) white meat tuna packed in water; well drained (6 1/2-ounce)
•5 anchovies
•3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
•3 tablespoon(s) drained capers
•1 1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon) (8-ounce)
•Chopped fresh italian parsley
•Drained capers
•2 lemons; halved lengthwise, sliced

For Turkey:
•Make slits in turkey with tip of small sharp knife; put 1 anchovy piece and 1 garlic sliver into each slit.
•Place turkey in large saucepan or dutch oven.
•Add all remaining ingredients.
•Add water to cover.
•Bring to boil.
•Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until meat thermometer inserted in center of turkey registers 140f, about 1 hour.
•Turn off heat and let turkey cool in cooking liquid.

For Sauce:
•Puree tuna, anchovies, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons capers in processor until very smooth, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally.
•With machine running, gradually mix in oil and blend until creamy.

•Remove turkey from broth reserve broth for another use.
•Cut off string and pull off turkey skin.
•Slice turkey into thin rounds.
•Coat platter with some of sauce.
•Top with single layer of turkey slices.
•Spread turkey with more sauce.
•Sprinkle generously with parsley and capers.
•Continue layering turkey, sauce, parsley and capers until all of turkey is used.
•Surround with lemon slices.
•Cover with plastic; chill turkey and any remaining sauce separately for at least 8 hours.
•Can be prepared 2 days ahead.
•Let turkey stand at room temperature 1 hour.
•Serve, passing any remaining sauce separately.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: