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This Old Chef: Blog & Recipes

Cool 'n' Tasty Chicken Tonnato

Posted on July 24, 2019 with 0 comments


Grotesque weather.  Upper 90s with humidity almost as high.  No real relief at night.

But it was the weekend and I NEEDED TO COOK.  So...

I had some thawed chicken breast that needed to be used.

I had a can of really good tuna.

And my attendance at a press event last week allowed me to pass by the store where I buy HUGE jars of salted capers for nothing.

So the chicken version of Vitello tonnato seemed the cool way to go!

In a saucepan big enough to hold the two pieces of chicken breast I placed the chicken, some peppercorns, salt, chopped scallions, and enough water/stock/ wine to cover.  Heat on medium low.  When the breasts reached 160° or so, I turned off the heat and let them cool in the broth.

While this cooled, I made the sauce.  Here's how...

In the processor, blend 1 can of good (something surpassing Chicken of the Sea or Bumblebee) tuna in oil (use the oil), about 1/2 C mayo (it was waaaay too hot to make my own), some salt and pepper, lemon zest and juice... blend until smooth, taste, adjust, taste, and refrigerate.

Finally, slice the cooked breast as thin as you can...  Plate with undressed greens (these were merlot lettuce leaves from our garden)...  Top with the sauce.  Scatter tarragon and rinsed, salt-packed capers.

I know, I know, cold poached chicken (60’s diet food) with tuna mayo... but trust me!  This is a great variation on a classic Italian summertime dish.  You’ll have a hard time figuring out how you’ve lived this long without.

And the added bonus:  a pan of barely simmering water does not heat up the kitchen OR the cook.

And vary the herbs!  Vary the ingredients in the poaching liquid!  Vary the meat!