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Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography © Benito Martin and Jess Johnson
March 2021
Reading time 5 minutes
Tonnato is an Italian dressing made thick like mayonnaise, but with tinned tuna as its base. It is typically served over thin slices of poached veal in a classic dish known as vitello tonnato.
  • Salad:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra if needed
  • 2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and dried
  • ½ country sourdough loaf, crust removed
  • 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) mixed heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves picked
  • Tonnato:
  • 100 g (3½ oz) good-quality olive oil-packed
  • tinned tuna
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, rinsed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 90 ml (3 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cream

1. To make the tonnato, add your tuna, anchovies, capers and egg yolk to a food processor. Put the lid on and process. Once it looks like everything is broken up a little, begin to stream in the olive oil. When it starts to thicken, add the soy sauce, lemon juice and Worcestershire, then the remaining olive oil. Finish with the cream and a bit of water to loosen it to a thick but drizzly consistency.

2. Add a few cracks of fresh black pepper and check and adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to use.

3. For the salad, heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over a high heat and add the dry capers. Ensure they are as dry as you can make them to avoid too much splatter. Allow the capers to sizzle a little and, when they have almost finished sizzling (meaning most of the water has evaporated), scoop them out and dry them on a piece of paper towel. Reserve the oil.

4. Tear your bread into rough pieces and add it to the pan. Use the caper oil and some more olive oil, if needed, to shallow-fry the croutons over a medium heat. You want to fry the bread on a couple of sides, but you don’t want it to be completely crispy. You want a bit of soft chew with a crusty exterior. Try to do this in one layer so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. This might mean you need to do it in a couple of batches. Season the croutons with salt and pepper when they come out of the pan.

5. Spread the tonnato on the plate first, then cut up the tomatoes into thick slices and arrange them on top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Scatter the croutons over the top. Finish with the fried capers and some fresh picked basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Extracted from Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography © Benito Martin and Jess Johnson

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