Swordfish Salad Tonnato With Cara Cara-Parsley Dressing 4.000

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

The Process Jan 23, 2013

Tonnato (from "tonno," Italian for tuna) is a creamy sauce often served with thin slices of cold roast veal. Here, the sauce gives a boost of flavor to mild, meaty swordfish. We call for Italian canned tuna here because it imparts nice flavor.

The Cara Cara oranges in this salad lend beautiful color and a bright floral note.

Make Ahead: The dressing and tonnato can be refrigerated (separately) a day in advance.

Servings: 4
  • For the tonnato, fish and salad
  • 2 Cara Cara oranges
  • 5 ounces canned, oil-packed Italian tuna, such as Cento brand (reserve the oil)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 pound skinless swordfish steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces red leaf lettuce leaves or salad mix of your choice
  • For the dressing
  • 1 or 2 Cara Cara oranges
  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the tonnato, fish and salad: Use a serrated knife to slice off the ends of the fruit. Place the oranges on a cutting board and remove their peels and white pith, leaving as much of the fruit intact as possible. Holding the fruit in your hands, carefully cut between the membranes to separate the segments; place them in a bowl.

Squeeze any juice from the fruit membranes and trimmed bits into a liquid measuring cup, to be reserved for the dressing.

Combine the tuna fish and its oil with the lemon juice in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.

Heat the canola oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.

Season the cubes of fish well with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the fish cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

For the dressing: Use a Microplane grater to zest the oranges. If you have less than 1/2 cup reserved juice from cutting the salad oranges into segments, squeeze the juice from 1 or 2 oranges to yield 1/2 cup total. Reserve any leftover juice for another use.

Combine the parsley, capers, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, the orange zest and 1/2 cup of orange juice in a blender. Puree until smooth.

When ready to assemble, add any juices that have accumulated in the pan of cooked swordfish to the parsley dressing.

Place the greens in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 3/4 cup of the dressing, tossing to coat evenly, then divide the dressed greens among individual plates. Arrange equal portions of the swordfish cubes on each salad.

Squeeze 2 tablespoons of the tonnato over each portion, then arrange the orange segments on top. Use the remaining 1/4 cup of dressing to finish/garnish each serving.

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Recipe Source

From The Process columnist David Hagedorn.

Tested by David Hagedorn.

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