Pickled asparagus tonnato
- April 2023
- Serves 2
- Hands-on time 20 min
This stunning plate is inspired by northern Italian dish vitello tonnato – finely sliced veal topped with silky tuna sauce and capers. Our version switches the meat for quick-pickled asparagus which works so well with the creamy tuna sauce. A dish perfect for spring (any leftovers make an immense sandwich).
Make the most of asparagus season with more delicious asparagus recipe ideas.
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- 47.2g (7g saturated)
- 29.1g (28.7g sugars)
- 300g asparagus
- 100ml cider vinegar
- 100ml water
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- ½ tsp dried dill
- 160g tin tuna in sunflower oil, drained
- 1 medium free-range egg yolk
- 75ml olive oil
- Juice 1 lemon
- ¼ red onion, very finely chopped
- Dill sprigs to garnish
- Extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
- Trim off the woody ends of the asparagus (and remember to save them!) then put in a pan with the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds and dried dill. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then take off the heat and set aside to cool in the liquid.
- To make the sauce, put the tuna and egg yolk in a food processor and whizz together. Then, with the motor still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a thin stream. If the mixture seems a little thick after adding all the oil, add a splash of water – you want it to be a little thicker than double cream, but still loose enough to pour. Taste and season with plenty of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Pour the sauce onto a serving dish, then drain the asparagus and arrange the spears on top. Sprinkle over the red onion and dill sprigs then finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
The tuna sauce is an emulsion (like a mayonnaise) so if it starts to split, you can add a dash of iced water which should bring it back into something smooth and silky.
Keep the pickle liquor as it can be reused – finely sliced cucumber or radishes are our favourites.
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