Tonnato Sauce from Piemonte

Lori and I first had the pleasure of tasting Tonnato sauce when travelling in Piedmont, Italy. It’s tuna and lemon based, with anchovy and caper flavors, nice on boiled eggs as an appetizer or on cold chicken, turkey, veal or pork. Traditionally the meat would be poached, but cook it any way you want and let it cool…especially nice on a warm (or hot) day. Tonnato sauce also is great for dipping raw vegetables.


Tonnato Sauce


1 4-oz can of oil packed tuna (not drained)

4 teaspoons of capers (drained)

1 tsp of anchovy paste (or 3 fillets)

3 teaspoons of lemon juice

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tablespoons of water (white wine, broth or other liquid)

Salt and pepper


Put the tuna, capers, anchovy paste, lemon juice (if using), and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a food processor and puree for about 11/2 minutes until very smooth. Slowly pour the olive oil into the feed tube with the motor running and then the same with the other liquid until the sauce in thick (put pourable). Cool for at least an hour in the fridge. As an appetizer, hard-boil 6 eggs, chop them up and add them to the above recipe.


Wine Pairings: A Jacquere (yes, that’s the grape) from Savoie, Fr., was an excellent pairing with the tonnato sauce on boiled egg. Jacquere is a crisp white so, for instance, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio (etc.) will pair well. Even a soft white like Chenin Blanc or Ribolla Gialla will go well. With a cold protein (see above), a rose on the full-bodied side (a rose of Pinot Noir worked well for us), or any red with minimal tannins.

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