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!
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.
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.