Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way

Recipe: Chicken Tonnato

"Inspired by the famous Italian dish vitello tonnato (veal in tuna sauce), my chicken tonnato is made with skinless, boneless breasts poached in a vegetable broth and served on a bed of arugula. The sauce is made in seconds in a food processor. Canned tuna (preferably in oil) is the main ingredient in the sauce, which also includes anchovies, mustard, and lemon juice. The delicious poaching broth is served as a soup accompaniment. Any leftover chicken tonnato makes a great sandwich."

Serves: 4

• 1/2 cup sliced onion
• 1/2 cup sliced leek, washed well
• 1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
• 1/2 cup diced carrot
• 1/2 cup diced celery
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 5 cups water
• 4 bonelesss, skinless chicken breast halves (each about 6 ounces)

Tuna sauce
• 1 (2-ounce) can anchovy fillets in oil
• 1 (3-ounce) can tuna (preferably in oil)
• 1 large egg yolk
• 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon drained capers
• 4 cups (loosely packed) arugula leaves, washed and dried
• 1 tablespoon drained capers
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

For the chicken:
Combine the onion, leek, mushrooms, carrot, celery, salt, pepper, and water in a large saucepan (preferably stainless steel).

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and boil gently for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken breasts, and cook them just until the broth returns to a boil, about 4 minutes.

Boil for about 15 seconds, then remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let the breasts stand in the broth for 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the sauce:
Set aside 4 of the anchovies for the garnish.

Put the tuna and the remaining anchovies in a food processor, along with the oil from both of the cans.

Add the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, water, salt, and Tabasco and process for a few seconds.

With the processor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream and process for a few seconds, or until it is well incorporated and the sauce is smooth.

At serving time, divide the arugula among four plates.

Remove the chicken breasts from the broth with a slotted spoon.

Cut each breast into 4 crosswise slices, and arrange the slices on top of the arugula.

Generously coat the breasts with the tuna sauce and top each serving with 1 of the reserved anchovy fillets.

Sprinkle on some capers and chives and serve at room temperature.

Reheat the broth, divide among four bowls, and serve with the chicken.

Chicken Tonnato sandwich

Serves: 1

• 2 slices bread (about 2 1/2 ounces total)
• 3 tablespoons leftover tuna sauce
• 4 thin slices chicken
• 1/2 cup (loosely packed) arugula
• 4 thin slices tomato

Toast the bread, then spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the tuna sauce on each slice.

Arrange the chicken on 1 of the slices, top with the arugula, and finish with the tomato slices.

Top with the other slice of bread, sauce side down.

Trim off the crusts, if you like, cut the sandwich in half, and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Company, ©2004 Jacques Pépin from Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way.