Recipe: Turkey tonnato sandwich


In our July cover package on picnics, Russ Parsons wrote an antipicnic story--he likes his sandwiches indoors, without the sunburns and bug bites. And when you taste one of his favorite sandwiches, turkey tonnato--a California version of the old Italian veal dish from Piedmont, vitello tonnato--you'll realize that some sandwiches, especially those slicked with a luxurious but messy sauce, are best eaten indoors. The sandwich, Parsons wrote, "takes advantage of the fact that turkey--like veal--has very little flavor of its own. Mostly, it is a moist, bland meat that is a perfect foil for this lightly tangy mayonnaise-based sauce. The sauce itself is fairly instant. Just blend the canned fish into a puree and fold it into mayonnaise. Somehow it doesn't wind up tasting fishy but rather fresh and tart. The one remaining imperative with this dish is to let the sliced meat sit in the sauce at least a couple of hours so the flavors meld. It's even better if you can leave it refrigerated overnight, which leaves you only a quick assembly job" when it's time to eat.


Active Work Time:

30 minutes *

Total Preparation Time:

6 hours 10 minutes

Salt, pepper

1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) turkey breast half, boned, rolled and tied

Olive oil

1 (6-ounce) can tuna in olive oil, undrained

4 to 6 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup capers, drained

1 large flat ciabatta loaf or other flat round bread

2 ounces arugula


* Salt and pepper turkey breast to taste and rub with enough olive oil to coat meat. Place on rack in roasting pan and roast at 300 degrees until instant-read thermometer inserted in breast reaches 160 degrees, about 1 1/2 hours. Let rest 10 minutes at room temperature.

* Remove breast from rack and immediately wrap tightly in foil. Chill several hours or overnight.

* Puree tuna and anchovies in blender. Add 1/3 cup olive oil in thin stream with motor running to make smooth emulsion, scraping down sides as necessary. Add lemon juice and pulse to combine. Taste: Mixture should be very tangy; if necessary, add more lemon juice. If anchovies aren't salty enough, add salt to taste.

* Place mayonnaise in mixing bowl and pour tuna mixture over top. Whisk to combine. Add capers and whisk briefly just to mix. Pour half of tonnato sauce onto large platter and spread evenly across bottom. Remove turkey from refrigerator, unwrap and cut strings. Cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices, placing each slice on platter, overlapping to make all fit. Spoon remaining sauce evenly over top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

* To prepare sandwiches, cut ends from ciabatta loaf and slice in half horizontally, leaving halves attached along 1 long side. Arrange turkey slices on bread and spoon over just enough sauce from platter to moisten meat. Scatter arugula over top and close sandwich. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. Refrigerate until ready to take to picnic. Slice before serving.

8 to 10 servings. Each of 10 servings: 402 calories; 694 mg sodium; 60 mg cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 80 grams carbohydrates; 27 grams protein; 0.11 gram fiber.