Few recipes are truly original but this twist on the classic vitello tonnato from Ed Smith of Rocket and Squash, using tomatoes as the base instead of roast veal is just inspired.
It comes from his brilliant book On the Side which, as the title suggests, is all about side dishes.
Ed writes: This might seem a surprising combination, but a fishy, umami-rich tonnato balances tomato’s natural acidity beautifully, punctuated by a sprinkling of salty and sour capers. I’ve enjoyed this with veal chops, pork belly, monkfish and cod, and I’m sure there are many other fine matches.
You’re likely to have some tonnato sauce left over, but it’s not efficient to make it in a smaller quantity. Happily, it keeps well for 2–3 days if covered and refrigerated. Use it to lubricate cold meats or roast lamb or as a flavoured mayonnaise in sandwiches. The tomatoes must be at room temperature and sliced thinly so that there’s plenty of cut surface area for the sauce to cling to.
Time needed: 30 minutes to an hour
6 medium (about 500g) tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g tinned anchovies in oil
160g tinned tuna, drained (120g drained weight)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
100g light olive oil
First, make the tonnato sauce. Put the anchovies with their oil, along with all the other sauce ingredients except the olive oil, in a blender or small food processor. Pulse, then blitz for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Add the olive oil in a steady drizzle until the mixture has completely emulsified and is smooth and glossy. Transfer it to a bowl and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. It will firm up a little in that time – not essential, but nice.
Spoon 4–5 tablespoons of the tonnato sauce over a large serving plate. Slice the tomatoes thinly and layer them on top of the sauce. Add a good grind or three of black pepper, and just a little salt (the sauce and capers are themselves quite salty). Sprinkle the capers over the top and serve.
What to drink
I drank an albarino with this on one occasion and a dry rosé on another. Both worked really well, as would most unoaked Italian white wines.
Extract taken from On the Side: A Sourcebook of Inspiring Side Dishes by Ed Smith (Bloomsbury, £20)
Photography © Joe Woodhouse
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