Zippy Salsa Tonnato

By • September 4, 2013 0 Comments

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Zippy Salsa Tonnato

Author Notes: This is pretty versatile: it works as a dip (think bagna cauda or pinzimonio); or tossed with pasta and a little of its cooking water; or to sauce a plate of seared wax beans and assertive greens (such as arugula). I think it would also be the cat's pajamas spread on an open croissant, topped with sliced tomatoes and cheese, and put under the broiler to make an upscale tuna melt. Bogre


Serves 4-6

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 or 2 shallots or a small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped, or an equivalent amount of chopped celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 6-8 ounces can (or jar) good-quality tuna in olive oil, drained and chopped, oil reserved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or aioli
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp of the butter in a skillet or saucier. Add onions, fennel, and hot pepper flakes, and saute on medium-low heat until tender and translucent. Mash garlic cloves, anchovies, and a pinch of salt to a paste in a mortar or on a cutting board using the flat side of your knife. Add to the onion-fennel mixture and continue sauteing over medium-low, until the anchovies have dissolved, and then stir in the tuna, mashing with the back of a wooden spoon to break up any large chunks. Raise the heat to high and add the wine. Cook until almost all evaporated, then lower the heat and stir in the capers and parsley. Cut in the remaining tbsp of butter and remove the pan from heat.
  2. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the mayonnaise (or aioli), vinegar (or lemon juice), reserved tuna oil, and water, and process until smooth. Adjust for salt, pepper, acid, and--if you prefer a little extra zip--hot pepper. You may need to add a little more olive oil if the puree is too thick. Serve as a dip, or tossed with pasta and a little pasta water (and something assertive and green, like arugula), or as a crostini topping, garnished with chopped parsley.

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