9.10.2016

You Say Tomato, I Say Tonnato

Readers, meet Frank from the blog, Memorie di Angelina. Frank is fairly new to my blogosphere, but he has been posting wonderful recipes since 2009, and we clicked immediately over our mutual love and respect of authentic Italian food. Recently, he reposted his Tomato Tonnato recipe and I knew right away that it would be on our table within days.

The tomatoes I get from Jeremy at Markley Farms have been so good, I wanted it right away... but I would have to wait until the Sunday farmers market. And what better way to celebrate the waning of tomato season?

This recipe is a riff on Vitello Tonnato, a very traditional dish I first had about 15 years ago in the town of Poggio a Caiano near Florence, after visiting an immense, if obscure, Medici villa across the quiet street. It was a blistering hot day and we really appreciated a chilled dish. Mark and I both ordered the vitello tonnato and never looked back. We loved it!

Since then, I have made it several times and, most recently, our friend Barbara served it at her home. It never disappoints.

I know people make it with chicken or turkey, and both make good substitutions for the traditional veal. Tomatoes, however, make it a completely different dish, a refreshing one you should try.

I highly recommend using homemade mayonnaise, as long as you have the freshest of eggs, and no one partaking of the meal has any health issues or is pregnant (the eggs don’t get cooked). I included my easy food processor recipe below.


And, so now, whenever I hear Cole Porter's Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, I will immediately think of Tomato Tonnato… and definitely not call it off! (Thanks to Fred and Ginger for that great performance!)

Thanks, Frank - this is the perfect summer recipe!

~ David

Tomato Tonnato
Adapted from the recipe by Frank Fariello

4 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
1 5-ounce can of tuna fish, packed in oil, drained, preferably Italian
1 cup of mayonnaise (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons drained capers, divided
2 anchovy fillets
freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

Slice the tomatoes horizontally, and arrange them decoratively on a platter overlapping one another.

Place the tuna, mayonnaise, 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, anchovy fillets, and lemon juice in a blender. Purée until smooth and thick, but still pourable. Pour over the tomatoes, leaving the edges somewhat exposed for the beautiful color.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons capers and chopped parsley.

Serve chilled as a light supper or first course.

Serves 2-3 as a main course, 4-6 as a starter.

Homemade Mayonnaise

1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, preferably white pepper
1 cup canola or safflower oil

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the egg, lemon juice, and mustard. Pulse to combine, then let sit a minute. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and pulse again to mix. Then, with the machine running, slowly and in a very steady stream no wider than 1/8-inch, pour in the canola/safflower oil. By the time the oil is used up, you should have a perfect mayonnaise. You will need a cup for the tomato tonnato recipe above.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


36 comments:

  1. Thanks David (and Frank) I am going to try this one. GREG

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  2. Yumm! That is probably my favourite summer combination. I could eat it everyday.

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    1. Me, too, as long as the tomatoes are perfect!

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  3. I like the sound of this, David. Thank you for the introduction to Frank!

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  4. A great looking recipe. Amazing how I can almost taste it from the photos alone. Tomato, Tonnato! :)

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    1. Thanks, Ngeun! I am craving another batch after relooking at my photos!

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  5. Thanks so much, David, for the shout out! And compliments on your gorgeous rendition of Tomato Tonnato. By the way, I just had vitello tonnato the other day, for the first time in years. It was one of the best I've ever had. And believe it or not, it was in Managua, Nicaragua... !

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    1. Wow, Frank - in Manila? Why not? I really enjoy your posts, Frank, and am planning the stuffed peppers this week!

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  6. I really enjoyed watching the video of Fred and Ginger! The recipe looks terrific too.

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    1. I'm glad you watched it, Connie - it's such a great scene. Hope you fared well in Hurricane Hermine!

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  7. Beautiful dish! With all of those delicious ingredients this pureed sauce just sounds amazing! I've booked marked this one, David!

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    1. The nice thing, Marcelle, is that it is easy, too!

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  8. I am going to make this for dinner tomorrow. I love Frank's blog.

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    1. Enjoy, Gerlinde! I know - Frank's blog is pretty wonderful!

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    2. Thanks for the kinds words, Gerlinde!

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  9. What a lovely way to make the most of tomatoes when they are at their best. It sounds like the perfect summer recipe.

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    1. It is, Caroline! Do you have a short tomato season where you are?

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  10. This looks wonderful, David and Frank! Thanks for introducing me to Frank, if you like his posts then I know I will too.
    This really does look very refreshing and perfect for summer tomatoes. I have a tin if nice tuna waiting to be used. Maybe I'll stop by my farm stand and pick up some heirlooms and try this out.
    Something different :)

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    1. It is really a nice summer dish, Nazneen! I am always surprised that it is so hard to find good tinned or jarred tuna. I am definitely willing to pay the price if grocers carried it!

      And, yes, you will love Frank - wonderful stuff on his blog!

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  11. wow! talk about timing, fixing this for lunch today looks amazing!! thanks David.

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    1. I just saw your "end of tomato season" post Cheri - this IS good timing! Enjoy!

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  12. I've had veal tonnato, seen turkey tonnato on menus, but I've never seen tomato tonnato. I want, I want! So fresh and cooling!

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    1. You might have to wait till your travels are done, as I have this sneaking suspicion that you aren't doing a lot of cooking while traveling! :)

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  13. I must confess I have never made nor had any kind of tonnato so I am particularly interested in this recipe. I will look for some nice tomatoes at this Saturday's Farmers' Market!

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    1. Glad to know you are still getting good tomatoes in New Hampshire! I think you will really like this, Susan!

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  14. Vitello Tonnato is such a popular appetizer dish all over Europe, it never fails to tempt me when traveling. This sounds like a delicious version…now if only I could find good tomatoes. Here in Florida the season for them is winter. :)

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    1. That's funny, Karen - I never think of Vitello Tonnato as an appetizer! You are lucky to get tomatoes in the winter!

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  15. As soon as I saw the can of anchovies, I was convinced! The warm weather is lingering, so I think there are a few more weeks of tomatoes for us...

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    1. This is such a perfect summer dish - enjoy the beautiful weather, Inger!

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  16. I adore Frank's blog! He's a virtual walking encyclopedia of Italian cuisine! This looks lovely; what a wonderful adaptation from Frank's recipe!

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    1. He is pretty amazing, Christina! I am so glad I found him.

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  17. I am reading my way back into all your delicious blog posts that I have missed in the past weeks. I love vitello tonnato and I also love Frank's blog and have been following him for years, so I felt like I just had to drop a line and say hello!

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    1. Franks blog is the best, Fiona - and when are we going to see posts from you again? I miss you!

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