Chicken Tonnato is a new take on a classic Italian summer dish – Orange County Register


Tonnato veal is a traditional summer dish in Italy. Hailing from the Piedmont region, it’s made with the unlikely combination of cold slices of veal topped with a creamy, cold tuna sauce. My husband loves the dish because it brings back memories of sunny days spent on the Mediterranean coast.

I replace the veal with chicken breasts. It’s best served al fresco on a hot day, paired with a quality chilled Pinot Grigio.

For a preparation in advance, the chicken can be poached the day before the service and kept in the refrigerator, tightly closed, with the broth mixture. The sauce can be made a day in advance and stored tightly in the refrigerator. Assemble and decorate just before serving.

Enjoy your meal.

Chicken Tonnato

Yield: 6 servings


1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup canned tuna, drained, preferably packed in olive oil

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon of capers, drained

4 anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced lemon zest

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Garnish: Drained capers

Optional garnish: Small lettuce, curly (curly endive), cherry tomatoes or teardrop-shaped


1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a deep skillet or Dutch oven large enough to contain the chicken in a single layer (but do not put the chicken in it yet). Add celery and onion; Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 10 min. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken in a single layer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 18 to 25 minutes. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Let cool in the broth mixture; refrigerate in broth mixture.

2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the tuna, mustard, 1 tablespoon of capers, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, salt and the pepper. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the mayonnaise; pulse 3 or 4 times to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate.

3. Remove the chicken from the broth; cut each breast into 3/8 inch cross slices. Arrange each breast on a plate, spreading the slices out like a fan. Drizzle the top with the sauce. Garnish with drained capers. If desired, place greens on the side and garnish with tomatoes.

A question about the kitchen? Contact Cathy Thomas at [email protected]

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