It’s again that post-holidays time when we go back to our routines after some time off. Many of you might know it already, but in Finland it’s tradition to eat roasted ham during this time of the year. After the holidays these huge hams (usually weighing somewhere between 5 and 9 kilograms), can be found very cheap in stores. This year we bought two. What we probably didn’t think through is that we’d have to eat them all by ourselves.
Traditionally the ham is eaten thinly sliced and served with various vegetable casseroles, such as carrot or swede, but, as we like to do here at the adagio family, we wanted to mix Nordic and Italian cuisines, so we opted for a green lentil celery side dish.
Sometimes there comes a time when one needs an idea outside the box to freshen up a dish that otherwise has become a little dull and boring. That was our case with the last part of the ham, so I thought to share with you the recipe for this very famous Italian sauce, salsa tonnata aka tonnato sauce.
The history of tonnato sauce dates back to the 18th-19th century, you can read more about it in this great article from Gambero Rosso, but the idea is to combine a fish sauce and use it over meat. As this dish was probably created in Piedmont, anchovies had to be a part of it (in the bagna cauda recipe post I explain more to detail why this little fish was so readily available in a region without seashore). Do you find it daring to mix fish and meat? It’s not a very common combination, but it really works, especially with some thinly sliced meat like veal, ham or turkey.
Tonnato sauce is really versatile: it can work also as a dip for vegetable sticks, as a spread over a rustic bread slice or over steamed vegetables. Consider to include it in your antipasto servings or as part of a platter. In Finland the roasted ham is served with mustard, so we added some to our tonnato sauce to remind that flavour and it worked really well!
Salsa tonnata aka Tonnato sauce
- 1 egg
- ¼ tsp lemon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 80 ml vegetable oil
- 20 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 140 gr tuna in oil
- 5-10 capers
- 5 anchovies*
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp mustard optional
- Make a mayonnaise by placing in a blending jar the egg, the lemon, the salt and oil and blend with a hand blender until the mixture will look uniform and will have thickened.
- Drain the tuna and add it in the jar along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.
- Serve as a dip or as a sauce, decorate with capers.
- Store the sauce in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.