Pesce spada tonnato – swordfish with tuna sauce

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

This is a quick and easy adaptation of Vitello Tonnato. Any white meat (veal, chicken, turkey) or light solid fish (bass, monkfish, grouper, halibut) can be poached, or grilled, and flavored with a tonnato sauce. This variation is made with swordfish steaks and can be made the day before or at least a few hours before serving. When tonnato is made with white meat it will keep for a full week in the refrigerator.

  • 4 swordfish steaks, 1/2 in thick (approx 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 1/4 C lemon juice
  • 1/3 C OO

Place swordfish steaks in a shallow dish large enough to hold them in one layer. Whisk the OO with the lemon juice and pour over the fish. Turn the fish to coat completely. Set in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hr.

Remove the fish steaks from the marinade and place on an oiled broiler pan. Cook about 4 inches from a preheated broiler 3 min each side, or until opaque in the center. Place the cooked fish on a serving platter and cover with the sauce. Garnish with lemon slices, capers and parsley.


Ingredients for tuna sauce
  • 1 -- 7oz. can light tuna in OO
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 3 T. capers
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1  1/4 C. OO
Ingredients for mayonnaise
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1  1/4 C. OO
  • 2 -3 T. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


In a blender or a food processor mix the tuna, anchovies, capers, lemon juice, and OO. Process to a creamy paste.

Separately prepare the mayo: place the egg yolks into a round bottom bowl, add the salt and 1 T. of the lemon juice. Beat the yolks until pale yellow in color. Very slowly beat in a few drops of OO to create an emulsion. Do not add OO too quickly. Add remaining OO very slowly until the mayo has become quite thick. Add the remaining lemon juice which will thin out the mayo and add flavor. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Combine tonnato sauce and mayo in a bowl, mix well. Adjust for seasonings.