Tuna Sauce

We first had the classic Italian dish, tuna sauce over veal, at Giovanni VentiCinque (23 East 83rd Street) in Manhattan and loved it. This past summer we discovered an unbelievable gourmet Italian restaurant, Trattoria Nostrani, on Johnson Street in Santa Fe, NM, where they served us a refreshingly delicious salad of tuna sauce over endive and our mouths did cartwheels of joy.


In trying to duplicate the wonderful recipe of tuna sauce, we discovered that not only is it fabulous with a large number of options to serve it over, but it’s extraordinarily simple, once we experimented with getting the right flavors and accurate measurements. The one splurge in this recipe is the Kraft mayonnaise, but otherwise, the ingredients are healthy. You could experiment further with vegan mayonnaise.  The biggest experiment was finding the right thickener.


This tuna sauce can be served over endive, and any other salad greens you care to try it with. It’s good over steamed or roasted veggies, and delicious with any kind of pasta, rice, or new potatoes. The original Italian dish is tuna sauce over veal, but it’s also delicious over, turkey, chicken, and a tuna steak. We haven’t tried it over a lighter fish like Dover or Gray Sole, but here’s betting that would be good too.


So, for not very much work, whip up some of this tuna sauce and everything you serve it over will be transformed.  We’re still drinking the light delicious Italian white wine, Orvieto, made icy in the freezer and in chilled wine glasses.



Tuna Sauce Over Endive




Allow for 1 endive per person


1can (7 oz) tuna fish in oil

1 Tablespoon anchovy paste

1 Tablespoon capers

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon, juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons Kraft mayonnaise

Pinch black pepper

Flat leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

1 to 2 teaspoons, powdered Agar-Agar (add slowly to thicken the sauce)


Should be enough tuna sauce for 2-4 people




  • Figure on one endive per person
  • Wash the endive and drain it.
  • Cut the endive, with a knife, (don’t break) into 2” to 3” pieces; make them spear-shaped
  • Keep the endive in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the tuna sauce


  • Put the tuna fish in a food processor.
  • Add the anchovy paste, capers, lemon juice, oil and add ½ teaspoon of the agar agar.. Start the food processor and turn the ingredients into a very fine, smooth paste.
  • Transfer the mix to a bowl and stir in the mayonnaise.
  • Now, determine if your sauce is too thick or too thin, or just right.  If too thin, add another

½ teaspoon of the agar agar, wait a few minutes, and determine if you have the right

thickness for your sauce.

  • Only add additional agar-agar very very slowly, if the sauce needs to be thicker.  Use your judgement re: thickness of the sauce.  We don’t like it too thin, but too thick and it’s not a lovely sauce, but a paste.  If, at this point, the sauce is too thick, slowly add tiny amounts of olive oil until you get it to your taste.  You could also add small amounts of chicken broth as thinner.
  • Serve 3 or 4 Tablespoons of the tuna sauce over the pieces of endive on individual salad plates and garnish with chopped parsley




Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.