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Tonnato Sauce Recipe

Keep 'Em Guessing With Complex Flavors of Tonnato Sauce

Two weekends ago, I joined a friend at a potluck dinner organized by Slow Food San Francisco. While I do support the movement's good, clean, and fair principles, I also realized I'd probably be dining amongst a fair share of victory garden-sowing, microwave-loathing culinary crusaders. Eager to please the environmentally aware diners at the potluck, I decided to bring a wholesome spread of unadulterated vegetables fresh from that morning's farmers market, served alongside a rustic Italian tuna sauce.

Flash-forward to dinner — I'd returned to the serving table for seconds after filling my plate with a few too many vegan farro and quinoa courses the first time around. As I reached for my tonnato and vegetables, and the guy next to me in line interrupted. "Have you tried that? I can't figure out what it is, but it is absolutely delicious. And have you ever seen a purple carrot before?!" I blushed, explained what went into the tonnato, and considered my mission to impress Slow Foodies accomplished. See the crowd-pleasing recipe.

Pinzimonio With Tonnato Sauce

Pinzimonio With Tonnato Sauce

Fast Nate Appleman Recipe For Crudites With Italian Tonnato Sauce


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
One 8-ounce jar Italian tuna in olive oil, drained
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 oil-packed anchovies, drained
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 pound green, Roma, or wax beans
8 Parisian round carrots or baby carrots
1 bunch small breakfast radishes, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt


  1. In a food processor, combine the 1/4 cup of olive oil with the tuna, lemon juice, anchovies, capers, and mayonnaise. Process until smooth. Scrape the tonnato sauce into a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate.
  2. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water; pat dry.
  3. Arrange the beans, carrots, radishes, and any other vegetables on a platter; sprinkle with the sea salt. Drizzle the tonnato with olive oil; serve with the vegetables.

Serves 6 as an appetizer.

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Join The Conversation
Food Food 6 years
It doesn't taste incredibly fishy, but rather like some variation of hummus that keeps you guessing. The key to making it sophisticated, if you so desire, is to show off beautiful garden vegetables (you could also do fennel, endives, and asparagus).
nancita nancita 6 years
This sounds really good! And I can't believe how easy it is to make. I'm totally making this for my next party.
Peggasus Peggasus 6 years
Tonnato is traditionally served in Italy as a sauce on cold veal (or turkey). It sounds soooo weird, but it is, as you say, indescribably delizioso.
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