Tonnato-Stuffed Eggs

One of my husband Bill’s favorite dishes is Vitello Tonnato. Cold sliced veal with a tuna sauce. It is an Italian version of surf and turf. Trying to imagine another recipe on which to use this tasty sauce, I thought of eggs. I love stuffed eggs. My mom has never stopped making them, even when the food police declared them taboo. Fortunately, as of October 2000, the position of the American Heart Association is that an egg a day is OK. Eggs and tuna, like veal and tuna, are a happy marriage, and a couple of these stuffed eggs are substantial enough to make up a light lunch.

The most important thing to learn from this recipe is how to boil eggs. In fact, as Julia Child taught me, the paradoxically correct method is not to boil them. You start the eggs in cold water, bring them just up to the boil, pull them off the heat and let them sit. “Boiling” the eggs this way eliminates tough, chewy whites and the nasty green line that otherwise appears between the yolks and the whites. Try it. You’ll be amazed.

6 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
One 3.5-ounce can tuna (Italian tuna packed in oil for more flavor, American tuna packed in water for fewer calories), drained
5 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon drained bottled capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lettuce and olives for garnish

Makes 12 stuffed eggs

Place the eggs in a large saucepan and pour in enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 13 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of half ice and half water. Cool completely, then peel under cold running water.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Arrange the halves of the whites, cut-side up, on a serving plate. Place the yolks in a strainer set over a large bowl and force through with the back of a large spoon. Add the mayonnaise and stir until smooth.

Combine the tuna, anchovies, capers, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. Stir into the yolks and season with salt and pepper. Mound a heaping spoonful of the yolk mixture into the cavity of the whites. Garnish with lettuce and olives. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

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