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Tumeric Chicken with Tuna Sauce

August 23, 2014

Served with a green salad this dish is protein packed!

Served with a green salad this dish is protein packed!

This dish was inspired by Vitello tonnato, a traditional Italian dish of cold, sliced veal covered with a creamy tuna and mayonnaise. It is usually served chilled or at room temperature in summer, as the main course of an Italian meal.

I remember scouring the pages of my 1990 Women’s Weekly Italian Cooking Class cookbook and thinking that the Vitello tonnato recipe was the least appealing recipe in the book! And that I would never make it! Nearly 25 years later, I am looking for the recipe in order to boost the protein in my diet! (See, it pays to hoard all of those old cookbooks!)

The original version is prepared a day in advance by braising a piece of veal which is then sliced cold and served with the characteristic sauce.  Traditionally, fresh tuna was used to make the sauce but today most people accept that a good quality canned tuna works just as well.

I find braised veal to be very dry and indeed, the tuna sauce to be a bit dry so I have paired the sauce with some roast chicken and used some non-traditional flavours in the sauce. As with the original, the sauce improves with a few days in the fridge to develop the flavours.

It works well served warm or cold on cooked chicken, boiled eggs, baked potato or as a dressing for potato salad. I particularly like it on avocado.

4 chicken thigh fillets
1 tab apple cider vinegar
1 teas turmeric
1 tab olive oil
1/2 teas salt
1 clove garlic, crushed 
Pound the thighs to an even thickness and mix with the marinade ingredients. Marinade for at least an hour or overnight. You can choose to steam the chicken in your Varoma or grill it. Personally, I think that steaming is better for this dish as it retains the moisture but it doesn’t photograph so well but feel free to grill or roast it if you prefer.
If steaming, heat 500g water in your TM with the chicken laid evenly on the top tray. Steam for 20 – 25 minutes on SP 3 VAROMA temp.
185g can of good quality tuna in olive oil
100g mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
40g olive oil
3 – 5 anchovies
1 tab capers + 1 tab capers to serve
1/2 medium tomato
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 strip of lemon rind
1 teas mustard (Dijon or seeded is fine)
black pepper to taste
Blend the sauce ingredients together on SP 8 for 1 minute. Scrape down if required.  Taste for seasoning but it shouldn’t need any salt due to the anchovies & capers. Serve with the cooked chicken* or boiled eggs or as a dressing for potato salad and sprinkle the extra capers on top. It keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days.
* Actually, I think this sauce would be nice on roasted cauliflower too!
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