Friday, May 18, 2012

Chicken Tonnato

Chicken tonnato.
When our friends James and Virginia visited us in Cape Breton several years ago, one of the dishes Virginia prepared was chicken tonnato.  I don't seem to have Virginia's recipe, but I found a recipe for it on the Sauce and Sensibility Website.

I made this the other night for dinner, and we liked it very much.  I followed the recipe, but did not use brandy in the sauce.

Chicken Tonnato
Serves 6
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small white or yellow onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, diced (I used carrot sticks that I had on hand.)
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups water
4 cups fresh arugula, trimmed and washed (I used baby spinach--Dan doesn't like arugula).
Tonnato Sauce (recipe below)
Extra capers or snipped chives for garnish

In a deep skillet or a large saucepan, combine the onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, salt, pepper and water.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer it for 5 minutes.
Stock for poaching chicken breasts.
Add the chicken breasts to the water, return the water to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Cover the pan tightly with its lid, turn off the heat and leave it alone for at least 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth to a cutting board and let it cool.  When cool, slice the chicken into crosswise slices and arrange on a bed of arugula on individual plates or a platter.  Spoon some tonnato sauce over the chicken and pass the extra separately.

For the Tonnato Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons capers, drained
6 anchovy fillets, minced
1 6-ounce can tuna, packed in oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of water (if needed)
2 tablespoons of brandy (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, capers, anchovies, tuna and lemon juice.  Add the brandy if using, and combine.
Adding capers to food processor when making sauce.
Check the consistency so that you have a nice spoonable sauce.  If you need to thin it, add the tablespoon of water.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  The sauce may be made ahead and chilled until time to serve and will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Tonnato sauce garnished with capers.
We had sauce left over, and I think it will be good to use as a substitute for mayonnaise on a  tomato and lettuce sandwich.

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