Recipe for green bean and tomato tonnato

–Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff

View previous Fresh Pick recipes:

Recipe for grilled zucchini and onion po’boys with tomatoes and garlic remoulade

Recipe for hake with sliced tomato ‘crust’ and lemon-caper dressing

Serves 4

Tonnato (from the Italian word tonno, for tuna) is a creamy homemade mayonnaise whose principal ingredient, besides olive oil, is canned tuna. Vitello tonnato, in which cold, sliced veal is served with the sauce is a famous dish in the Italian repertoire. It sounds odd, but the combination is immensely appealing. That goes for anything you serve with tonnato sauce, which is seasoned with anchovies and lemon. The traditional method for the sauce is to make mayonnaise with eggs and olive oil, then beat in tuna. In this version, bottled mayo is whirred with tuna, lemon, anchovies, and a little olive oil. Pour the sauce over a big platter of lightly steamed green beans and chunks of ripe tomato, sprinkle them with capers, and you have a substantial summer salad that can serve at a main course with steamed golden potatoes or a side dish with grilled swordfish (swordfish and tonnato sauce are a match made in heaven).


1pound green beans, stem ends trimmed1can (3 ounces) high-quality tuna in olive oil6anchovy filletsGenerous squeeze of lemon juice, or more to taste½cup mayonnaise2tablespoons olive oilSalt and pepper, to taste2large red or yellow tomatoes, cored and cut into thin wedges1pint red or yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered or sliced1tablespoon capers

1. In a large saucepan fitted with a steamer insert, bring several inches of water to a boil. Add the green beans, cover the pan, and steam for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water.

2. In a food processor, combine the tuna and the oil from the can, the anchovies, lemon juice, and mayonnaise. Work the mixture until it is smooth. Add the olive oil through the feed tube a little at a time. Taste the mixture for seasoning and add salt, if you like, lemon juice, and pepper.

3. Drain the beans and pat dry with paper towels. In a large bowl combine the beans, large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Add the dressing and toss gently.

4. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish and garnish with capers.

Sheryl Julian

This column will run through October and offer ways to prepare native ingredients from the farmers’ market, farm stand, or fishmonger. To see previous recipes for hake with sliced tomato “crust’’ or grilled zucchini po’boys with remoulade, go to

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