Kitty Coles’ quick and easy tonnato salad – recipe

<span>"‘A double tuna salad!’ Kitty Coles’ tonnato salad.</span><span>Photograph: Laura Edwards/The Guardian. Food and prop styling: Kitty Coles. Food assistant: Clare Cole.</span>
"‘A double tuna salad!’ Kitty Coles’ tonnato salad.Photograph: Laura Edwards/The Guardian. Food and prop styling: Kitty Coles. Food assistant: Clare Cole.

My parents live in Mallorca, and one of my favourite things to eat when I visit them is the most simple ensalada mixta. The best ones are just a mountain of lettuce, white asparagus, a mound of tinned tuna and some capers. As a child, I’d eat all the tuna first, so here is my favourite tuna salad: tuna with tuna dressing, which is inspired by Italian tonnato sauce. A double tuna salad! To me, that’s perfect.

Tonnato salad

There are endless ways to customise this, so use your favourite things and serve them with the sauce. Any leftover sauce is delicious with toast and a seven-minute boiled egg.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side

500g waxy potatoes (new, jersey royal, pink fir apple or charlotte), larger ones halved
100g fine green beans, trimmed
145g tinned tuna in olive oil, drained
A handful of soft herbs, finely chopped – I like dill and parsley for this
1 little gem or romaine lettuce
1 small fennel bulb, or cucumber, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the tonnato sauce
145g tinned tuna in olive oil, drained
2 tbsp mayonnaise
½ garlic clove

1 t
bsp capers, drained
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 t
bsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and
black pepper

Start by making the sauce. Put all the sauce ingredients in a food processor with a splash of water, season generously, then blend smooth: it should have the consistency of a thick dressing, so if need be add more water to loosen.

Put the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted cold water, bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender and cooked through. Add the green beans to the pot for for the last four minutes of cooking time. Drain the potatoes and beans, then run them under the cold tap so they cool slightly, and drain again.

Put the potatoes and beans on a platter, then flake the second tin of tuna over the top. Add the herbs, torn lettuce and sliced fennel, then drizzle over extra-virgin olive oil and a few generous tablespoons of the tonnato sauce. Toss everything to coat, then serve with extra sauce on the side.

  • Make More with Less: Foolproof Recipes to Make Your Food go Further by Kitty Coles is published by Hardie Grant (£22). To buy a copy for £19.36, go to