I truly thought my next post was going to be about fruit, or the next few posts, when I really think about it. With three sour cherry trees out back, countless blueberry bushes, and brambles of thick black raspberry bushes, a fruit post only made sense.
But life moves pretty fast. Tonight I texted Rich, “I hope you’ll be home any minute, because dinner is amazing and I’m worried there won’t be any left by the time you get home.” I thought it best to share the dish with you all, if only so I have a record to go back to.
The dish in question is Radishes with Tonnato, Sunflower Seeds, and Lemon. It’s from Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, a book I’d read about and finally got from the library last week. When I saw this recipe, I knew it was a keeper. Honestly, this whole book is a keeper. I was on page 46 out of 396 when I remarked out loud, to no one in particular, that I thought I was going to need to actually purchase this book, rather than keep it out until the library hunted me down. I still have to make the Caper Raisin Vinaigrette, and since I’ve already earmarked this week’s CSA summer squash for a summer squash cake for Tot Shabbat, the Squash and “Tuna Melt” Casserole will have to wait until next week.
Today’s recipe is technically in the Spring section, even though I think we are now in Midsummer. But considering that asparagus keeps growing in my front yard, I think I get a pass. Tonnato is a tuna sauce, and here it’s spiked with fresh lemon, then tossed with fresh radishes and toasted sunflowers. The recipe also calls for a small handful of fresh mint. I didn’t have any on hand, but I’m thrilled with the dish, as is.
I’m a tuna fanatic, be it on a bed of sushi rice or mashed with mayo in a salad with celery, bread and butter pickles and handfuls of fresh herbs, but this here might be my new favorite way to enjoy it. Last year I’d gotten into buying tuna in oil, to toss with fresh pasta and chopped olives and capers, so I’d had a can in the house. Although the basic tonnato recipe calls for two cans of tuna, the radish salad says to use half the recipe, so the one can I had on hand was perfect.
I served this alongside this fresh cherry and herb salad. I actually couldn’t find the hot pepper I swore I had in my crisper, so I used a pinch of Aleppo pepper in its place. The whole dinner felt fresh and amazing — the first of many to come with all the fresh fruits and veggies coming my way.
Radishes with Tonnato, Sunflower Seeds, and Lemon by Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by Joshua McFadden
Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side
½ recipe Tonnato (to follow)
Juice of ½ lemon
2 bunches radishes, greens trimmed off and reserved for another dish, radishes halved or quartered
1 small handful of mint leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
1 small handful sunflower sprouts, optional
Put the tonnato in a large bowl, squeeze in a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice, and stir to mix. Add the radishes and toss to coat.
Add the mint and season well with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or lemon juice.
Add half the sunflower seeds and sprouts (if using). Toss, then top with remaining seeds and sprouts. Serve soon.
Makes about 1 ½ cups
Two 5-ounce cans oil-packed tuna, drained
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
About 1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise (such as Hellmann’s or Best Foods)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
About 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Put the tuna and salt in a food processor and pulse until it’s blended. Add 1/3 cup mayonnaise and pulse until the ingredients are getting creamy. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice and process until the tonnato is very smooth and creamy.
Taste and add more mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, or salt. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
More Ways to Use It:
Use as a dip for any raw, grilled or roasted vegetables.
Spread of slices of veal.
Thin it out with more lemon juice and toss with boiled and smashed new potatoes or add it to a romaine salad.
Spoon it on bread and top it with Soft-Cooked Eggs, tomatoes and capers.
Use it in a charred broccoli dish.