Recipe from Eating Italy by Jeff Michaud (Running Press, 2013)
I’m always looking for new variations of vitello tonnato, Piedmont’s classic dish of braised and sliced veal leg served cold with a creamy olive oil, egg yolk, and tuna sauce. At Osteria, we serve sliced porchetta with tonnato sauce. But at Alla Spina, I wanted to do a lighter snack and decided on this mousse of tuna wrapped in roasted pepper to form a sort of savory cannoli. Caper berries and lemon bring out the traditional tonnato flavors.
Makes 4 servings
- 4 roasted bell peppers
- 1 ¼ teaspoons (3 g) powdered gelatin
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) white wine vinegar
- ½ ounce capers (about 2 tablespoons/ 14 g), plus a few garnish, preferably salted instead of soaked
- 7 ounces (200 g) canned Italian tuna packed in olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup (120 ml) mayonnaise
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons (8 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup (120 ml) olive oil
Cut the roasted peppers into eight rectangles, each about 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) long and 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) wide.
Mix the gelatin with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of water in a mdium heatproof bowl and let stand until bloomed (plump, soft, and hydrated), 5 minutes. Meanwhile, puree the anchoviesm vinegar, and capers in a food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the tuna a little at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Season with salt and pepper.
Put the bowl of bloomed gelatin over a pan of gently simmering water and heat until melted and smooth, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring a few times. Slowly stir the tuna mixture into the gelatin a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the head and let cool for 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. When the mixture has chilled, fold in the mayonnaise and keep cold.
Combine the lemon zest, parsley, and olive oil in a small bowl.
Lay the pepper rectangles out flat and spread about 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of cold filling over each one. Roll up the peppers like little jelly rolls to make a tube shape. The stuffed, rolled peppers can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before serving. Top each with a caper berry (or more if you’re using small capers) and drizzle the flavored oil over the top.
Recipe reprinted with permission from EATING ITALY © 2013 by Jeff Michaud with David Joachim, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.