I’m amazed at all the innovative things we do with tomatoes when they’re in season. It‘s hard to tire of BLTs, or caprese salad, or a fine tomato sauce. But in case you want a switch up, I ran onto a suggestion from NYT’s food writer Melissa Clark.
Have you tried Tomato Tonnato? (Tonnato means tuna.) Clark’s recipe is a variation on veal with tuna sauce that’s popular in Italy and Argentina. Instead of topping veal with tuna puree, you put it over vine-ripe tomatoes for a quick, nutritious meal.
The tonnato reminded me of tuna salad that had been run through the blender. But it also has anchovies, the umami flavor that perks up anything it touches. I didn’t have any anchovies, but I had a tube of anchovy paste on hand, that I use to put zing in salad dressings.
I should’ve let the mixture refrigerate a bit to allow the flavors to mingle. But it was passed lunch time, so I just slathered it over some juicy, vine-ripe tomatoes. It was a purr-fect twosome. I came to the conclusion, that tuna is normally the star on a sandwich or a salad. In this recipe, the fresh tomato is the star and the tuna becomes the tasty topper.
Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 three-ounce can imported tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons drained capers
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 anchovy fillets, optional
- 1 fat garlic clove, smashed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons tightly packed basil leaves, more for garnish
- 2 pounds mixed tomatoes, large ones cut in slices, small ones cut in wedges
- Coarse sea salt
- Black pepper
- In a blender, combine olive oil, tuna, mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic and 2 tablespoons basil and purée until creamy.
- Lay tomatoes out on a platter and spoon sauce over the tops. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper and garnish with basil leaves. Serve with bread.
Kitchen Note: For best results, make the sauce ahead and assemble just before serving.