Maiale Tonnato Recipe | PBS Food

Get a taste of Gabrielle Hamilton's "tunafied" pork recipe for maiale tonnato.



  • 4-pound boneless pork butt, rolled and tied
  • 2-3 quarts Octopus Braising Liquid (see Gabrielle Hamilton's recipe for Braised Octopus with Potatoes)
  • 2 cups tonnato sauce
  • lemons
  • salt-packed capers, rinsed, for garnish
  • For the tonnato sauce:
  • 2 cornichons
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 7 oz canned tuna (oil-packed)
  • ½ cup octopus cooking liquid
  • 5 anchovy filled packed in oil
  • For the mayonnaise:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 anchovies, packed in oil
  • ¾ cup grapeseed oil


  1. For the pork butt: season pork butt with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides in barest film of blended oil. Deglaze pan with some of the octo liquid, then add just enough to submerge roast by 3/4 . Bring to temperature on stovetop, then braise in gentle oven (325 degrees) for 3 hours. Cool pork in braising liquid and let it “cure” 24 hours in the fridge.
  2. For the tonnato sauce: grind tuna in Vita-prep with capers, cornichons, anchovies, lemon juice, and the cold braising “porktopus” liquid. Puree to smooth and fluffy.
  3. For the mayonnaise: in a clean blender canister on low speed, puree the egg yolk, mustard powder, white pepper, lemon juice, and anchovies. Increase motor speed and add grapeseed oil in quick, steady stream. Get full emulsification. Thoroughly combine mayonnaise with tuna puree by hand. Season with salt and white pepper if needed.
  4. Slice the maiale as thin as possible on the meat slicer, keep slices stacked neatly as you go. Make sure the butt is cold from the walk-in when you slice it—it is very fragile after the braise. Expect to lose almost ½ of yield in the slicing—it’s so tender and shreds easily. Remove the butcher’s string before slicing.
  5. To plate: carefully lay out good slices in circular fashion on the plate – 3 ounces per order. Spoon tonnato sauce liberally over pork slices to fully coat, but don’t drown the layer. Carefully lay another few slices of the pork on top, in same circular fashion. Spoon sauce over. Repeat with one more layer. Finish with sauce. Arrange paper-thin lemon ½-wheels around the circumference. Place a few parsley leaves around on top of the lemons, and several rinsed salted capers as well (not the ones in brine).
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