Project Description

Bresaola Tonnato & Escarole Sandwich

Recipe Icons-02
2 Servings
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Difficulty Level
Active Prep
Active Prep
20 min
Total Time
Total Time
25 minutes

Add this bresaola tonnato & escarole sandwich to your go-to list of hearty open-faced sandwiches. Joining the ranks of the Tuna Melt, the Tartine and Smorrebrod (Denmark’s not-to-be-missed entry to the category), this beauty is so distinctively satisfying, you’ll forget you’re using a knife and fork. Pairing bresaola, (savory, salted, cured beef) with tonnato sauce is a modern-day twist on the Italian classic “vitello tonnato,” in which a tuna sauce is served over room temperature roasted veal. We top it with a spicy escarole salad dressed with lemon and hot chiles. This sandwich is so exceptional, it just might tide us over until the tomatoes come back again in summer.

Not a fan of mayo? See the Cook’s Note on how to alter our Tonnato sauce with extra-virgin olive oil to be more, well, authentic.


for the salad

In a medium bowl, add escarole, fennel, pepperoncinis, parsley leaves, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, pepper flakes and salt. Toss to combine.

assemble sandwich

Spread 2 tablespoons of tonnato sauce on each slice of toasted sourdough. Top each with half the bresaola and divide the salad on top of each. Serve open faced with a fork and knife.

The tonnato sauce can be made the day before, kept covered in the fridge, and will actually become more flavorful. Extra sauce can be served with vegetables as a dip.

If you’re not a fan of mayo, you can use 1/3 cup mayo plus 3 tablespoons olive oil instead — or even just olive oil. The result will be a sauce that’s thinner and not as spreadable, but it will be delicious and closer to the original tonnato sauce served with veal in Italy. We like the sandwichy quality the mayo imparts — and we’re big fans of this sandwich.


tonnato sauce

  • 5 ounce can of good quality tuna in oil
  • 3 anchovy filets
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

escarole-fennel salad

  • 1 cup thinly sliced escarole
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 2 pickled pepperoncinis, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 slices rustic sourdough bread, lightly toasted
  • 4 ounces bresaola, thinly sliced


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