The classic 'Tonnato' sauce is, of course, made with tuna, but here I have used smoked mackerel and I think it is just as good.


The sweet vine-ripened summer tomatoes and fragrant basil complement the smoked fish brilliantly.

Serves 6

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 teaspoons capers
  • 6 tinned anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 6 ripe heritage tomatoes, sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of caster sugar
  • 120g smoked mackerel, skin removed
  • Smoked mackerel ‘tonnato’
  • 150g homemade mayonnaise
  • 25g smoked mackerel, skin removed
  • 1–2 tablespoons water
  • a few drops of lemon juice


  1. Hard-boil the eggs by lowering them gently into a saucepan of boiling salted water and cooking them at a boil for exactly 10 minutes. If you don’t want the yolk to be completely hard, cook for 9 minutes.
  2. The salt in the water seasons the egg and will help to coagulate any white that might seep out of a crack in the shell, hence less leakage. Remove from the saucepan immediately with a slotted spoon and cool under a cold running tap.
  3. Remove the shell and cut the hard-boiled eggs in half or into quarters.
  4. To make the ‘Tonnato’, place the mayonnaise and smoked mackerel in a food processer and blend to a purée.
  5. Add enough water to achieve a soft, spreadable consistency. Taste and add a few drops of lemon juice to brighten up the flavour.
  6. To assemble, spread 1 tablespoon of the mackerel ‘tonnato’ in a wide circle on flat plates. Scatter each circle with 1 teaspoon of capers and an equal portion of chopped anchovy.
  7. Place the sliced tomatoes in a single layer on another flat plate and season with salt and pepper. Tear over the basil leaves and dress immediately with the olive oil. Tease the dressing and basil through the tomatoes with your fingers.
  8. Taste one piece of tomato – if it is underwhelming, add a pinch of sugar and perhaps a little more salt to lift the flavour.
  9. Divide the tomatoes and any oily juices between the plates. Tear the mackerel into pieces and scatter it through the tomatoes. Add the halved or quartered hard-boiled eggs to each plate.
  10. Garnish each plate with a few more basil leaves and serve.