Turn off the stove. Here’s the perfect recipe for summertime!
It’s hot in Kansas City this summer — really hot! We do have one thing going for us right now though, and that’s beautiful local heirloom tomatoes.
One of my favorite sauces is the famous chilled tonnato sauce served in Italy. It’s a simple preparation of tuna, anchovies, capers, lemon juice and olive oil. Some recipes call for egg yolks, but those are optional. The sauce is almost like a mayonnaise when blended properly. So what better combination than heirloom tomatoes and tonnato sauce?
The origins of tonnato sauce date back hundreds of years to the region of Piedmont, Italy. I remember when I was very young and visited Italy during the summer with my parents, I would always enjoy tonnato sauce before dinner. I never had a glass of wine with it when I was younger, but now I’m thinking it would pair well with a chilled glass of pinot grigio!
The sauce is also very versatile and you can use it on sliced veal or pork. It’s great as an appetizer, especially served over roasted red peppers or as a dip for fresh vegetables. It is generally served chilled.
Many thanks to my good friend Judy Francini in Tuscany for the recipe and inspiration.
I think you’re going to like this recipe, and since it’s so easy and versatile, this may be the perfect go-to dish during these dog days of summer. And better than anything, you don’t have to fire up the stove. That’s one way to keep it cool!
As always, mangia bene!
Heirloom tomatoes & salsa tonnato
2 heirloom tomatoes
4 ounces canned tuna, drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons capers
3 anchovies (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
Cracked pepper and sea salt to taste
Combine tuna, mayonnaise, olive oil, capers, lemon juice, cracked pepper and sea salt in a food processor and prepare a purée. Take out of mixer and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. This will last up to five days in the refrigerator.
Slice tomatoes and place tuna sauce on top. Finish top of tomatoes with cracked pepper and capers as garnish or some fresh arugula and lemon slices.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s runs his family’s 62-year-old restaurant with his brother. Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is host to many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. He also sells dressings and sauces.