RECIPE: Lot 2’s Wild Yellowfin Tuna and Anchovy Dip

The ingredients are easy to come by and not terribly expensive, and the dish is an easy, unheralded classic.

Chef Katherine Youngblood of Lot 2 in South Slope says the deliveries she receives from Sea to Table are “absolutely the freshest fish I have ever gotten from a distributor — it’s absolutely pristine.” She often orders wild yellowfin tuna which she simmers into a confit dip that’s ethereal with spring vegetables like asparagus and radishes (hurry up, spring!).

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Tonnato (wild yellowfin tuna and anchovy dip) with spring vegetable crudité
Recipe by Daniel Rojo and Katherine Youngblood of Lot 2

We serve this dip as an appetizer with the first spring veg of the season. It’s essentially a tonnato (a preserved tuna mayonnaise, traditionally served over veal) but we serve it with crudité like asparagus, carrots, radishes and sugar snap peas.

We cook a piece of tuna confit in olive oil, then make it into a mayonnaise in the food processor with some of the oil, along with anchovy, egg yolks, garlic and lemon. We serve a ramekin of the chilled tonnato along with raw or barely blanched vegetables and garnish with a little good olive oil, lemon, sea salt and cracked black pepper. It’s a dish we feel really highlights the freshness and snap of the early spring vegetables while throwing a nod to a somewhat unheralded classic. The ingredients are easy to come by and not terribly expensive, and perhaps best of all, once it’s been cooked and stored in the oil the tuna will last for about a week in the fridge.”

Ingredients for the tuna confit:
1/2 pound (8 oz) yellowfin tuna, loin or belly
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Zest of 1 lemon, removed with a vegetable peeler
2 3/4 cup mild extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 F. Dice the tuna into bite-size pieces and place in a 1-quart oven proof baking dish or deep pan. Season with kosher salt. Add the lemon zest and cover with olive oil. Make sure the tuna is completely covered with oil. Place in oven and confit for 25-30 minutes, until the tuna is opaque, and the pink is gone. Let the tuna cool in the oil. At this point, the tuna can be refrigerated for about a week, before using.

Ingredients for the tonnato:
All 8 oz of confited yellowfin tuna, removed from the oil once cool
1 1/2 cups, strained confit olive oil (save the remaining oil for another use)
2 egg yolks (save the whites for another use)
1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on size
1 whole lemon
3-4 tablespoons water
6 anchovy filets
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Makes about 3 cups

Make sure the tuna and confit oil have cooled completely. Use a food processor with the blade attachment. Place the garlic and salt in the bowl and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the egg yolks and a tablespoon of water and blend. While the machine is running, add the oil, drop by drop, to make an emulsion. Once the yolks and oil have emulsified, you can add the oil more quickly, but be careful not to break the emulsification. It should look like mayonnaise. If it looks oil or too thick, add a tablespoon of water.

Once all the oil has been incorporated, add the tuna confit and anchovies. Blend to incorporate. Zest 1 lemon with a micro plane and add juice the lemon, then blend into the tonnato. Taste for seasoning. Add more lemon juice and salt, if desired.

Serve the tonnato with raw or blanched spring vegetables like asparagus, sugar snap peas, radishes, carrots or turnips.

Featured photo credit: Flickr/ tarotastic

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Gabrielle Langholtz is the former editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.