Pollo (Chicken) Tonnato Recipe

Pollo (Chicken) Tonnato

Yield: 4 servings

Time:  25 minutes

Slices of poached chicken breast in tuna sauce garnished with capers and lemon slices served at room temperature. A quick and easy recipe and a great dish for summer parties. A crusty bread to mop up the sauce and a glass of wine are all you need. This is a variation on Vitello Tonnato, a dish from Piedmont in Italy. Tonnato means made with tuna. 



  • 2 whole, boned chicken breasts, split in the middle (4 halves)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 1 scallion stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups (750 ml) water or light chicken stock
  • 4 whole boned chicken breasts split in the middle
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 parsley sprig
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • capers, lemons slices, and greens for garnish (optional)

Tonnato Sauce:

  • 7 oz (200 g) can of good quality tuna, drained
  • 4 anchovies in oil, excess salt removed and patted dry on towel papers
  • 1 cup (240 ml) mayonnaise, homemade or of good commercial quality
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • reserved cooking liquid, to thin up the sauce, if necessary


Tonnato Sauce: 

In a small food processor, add drained tuna, anchovies, and the mayonnaise. Blend until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper, if necessary. If you like a bit of piquancy in the sauce, add a bit of lemon juice.


Combine the wine, lemon juice, celery and scallions, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley and salt (optional) in a saucepan. Add about 3 cups of water or light chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Add the chicken breasts. Make sure that there is enough water or stock to cover the chicken.  Poach breasts for about 8 minutes. Let chicken cool in the liquid. Drain but keep the liquid for another use.

Serve cold poached chicken and tuna sauce. Garnish with capers and lemon slices.

Scroll to Top