The first time I was introduced to the dish Vitello Tonnato – and its speciel combination of veal and tuna – was when I for almost 20 years ago visited my sister in Milano for the first time. At that time it was introduced to me as a Milanese main-course. Later on I have discovered that Vetello Tonnato is more or less a common antipasti in Piemonte – especially in the Langhe area.
Even after 20 years I expect my sister to serve this dish when she invites to lunch. The latest argument for not making Vitetello Tonnato is, that it is only a summer-dish. That I believed, until an old chef told me that it is a dish that can be made all year round. Its only depends on the meat you use. In winter you use meat from male cattle and in the summer you use meat from the young cattles.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
- 750 gram boned leg of veal, rolled
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2-3 cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 carrots sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 celery stalks sliced
- 750 ml stock
- 150 ml dry white wine
- 90 gram canned tuna fish (well drained)
- 50 ml olive oil
- 2 tsp bottled capers (drained)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
Put the veal in a saucepan with the bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, salt and vegatables. Add sufficient stock and the wine to baryly cover the veal. Bring to the boil, remove any scum from the surface, then cover the pan and simmer gently for an hour or so until tender. Leave in the water until cold, then drain thoroughly. If time allows, chill the veal to make it easier to carve.
For the tuna sauce; thoroughly mask the tuna with 1 tablespoon oil and the capers. Add the egg yolks and press through a sieve (strainer) or pureé in a food processor until smooth.
Stir in the lemon juice then gradually whisk in the rest of the oil a few drops at a time until the sauce is smooth and has the consistency of thick cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slice the veal thinly and arrange on a platter in overlapping slices. Spoon the sauce over the veal to cover. Then cover the dish and chill overnight.
Before serving, uncover the veal carefully. Garnish with capers, lemon wedges and herbs.