When we decided to write this book, our first thought was, “You know what the world needs right now? Another take on vitello tonnato!” Just kidding—nobody needs another version of this classic Piedmontese dish. But because tomato season is so special and because Ryan’s and Steph’s moms really loved this version, in which savory beefsteak tomatoes play the part of thinly sliced veal, we just had to include it in here.
SERVES 4 SUMMER
½ cup capers, rinsed and drained
¾ cup vegetable oil
tomato tonnato salad
4 large heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs (see below)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
1 cup Tonnato (see below)
A few fresh dill flowers or sprigs
Fry the capers: Pat and dry the capers. In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Check to see if the oil is hot enough by adding a single caper—if it sizzles, it’s ready to go.
Add the capers to the pan and fry until they crisp up and start to look like crystals, about 5 minutes. You’ll notice the capers change color and open as they cook. Reduce the heat as necessary to avoid burning. Transfer the capers onto a paper towel–lined baking sheet to absorb the excess oil.
assemble the salad: Spread the tomatoes evenly onto a large plate. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Top with seasoned breadcrumbs, chives and crispy capers. Add a few dollops of tonnato and finish with dill flowers or sprigs.
This is a recipe you will use time and again. You can use our seasoned breadcrumbs to bread anything from eggplant and chicken to fish, veal Milanese or even tofu. And the great thing about it is that you can easily adapt it to your taste, such as making it spicier by adding a few teaspoons of dried chili flakes.
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
½ loaf sourdough bread (about 11 oz/340 g)
½ cup grated parmesan
½ tbsp garlic powder
¾ tsp mustard powder
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
toast the bread: Preheat the oven to 250°F. Trim off any thick part of the crust and cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until completely dry, but not browned, about 1 hour. Don’t worry, it’s OK if the pieces take on a tiny bit of color. Cool fully, then place in a food pro- cessor and pulse into crumbs. You want the crumbs to be roughly the same size—small, but not powdery.
add the seasoning: In a medium bowl, toss to combine the pulsed breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
I know we said we don’t really have rules in the kitchen, so let’s call this one a tip. Never buy water-packed tuna! It’s not nearly as good as the oil-packed versions, so you’re basically doing yourself a disservice by doing that.
Tonnato is a classic Italian condiment that is often dumbed down to being tuna mayonnaise, but it’s so much more than that. Tonnato is packed with flavors that can spruce up a lot of dishes: use it as a dip for vegetables, spread it on warm bread, serve it with sliced veal for a classic vitello tonnato or make Tomato Tonnato
MAKES 2 CUPS
10 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 5 large egg yolks
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tbsp white wine, divided
2 (5.6 oz/160 g) cans oil-packed tuna, drained
3 tsp capers, rinsed and drained
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Make the tonnato: In a blender, combine the anchovies, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, egg yolks, half of the olive oil and half of the white wine. Pulse until smooth. Add the tuna, capers, salt, pepper and remaining olive oil and white wine. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more lemon juice, salt and pepper. The tonnato will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Excerpted from Salad Pizza Wine by Janice Tiefenbach, Stephanie Mercier Voyer, Ryan Gray and Marley Sniatowsky. Copyright (c) 2023 Janice Tiefenbach, Stephanie Mercier Voyer, Ryan Gray, and Marley Sniatowsky. Photographs by Dominique Lafond. Published by Appetite by Random House(r), a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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