Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna-Caper Sauce)

  • Serves

    serves 10-12


Many Piedmontese families serve this cold antipasto, a classic combination of tender veal and a creamy sauce, on Christmas.


  • 1 12 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • 12 whole peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 carrots, halved crosswise
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved
  • 1 rib celery, halved crosswise
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 (2 1/2-lb.) piece veal top round, tied with kitchen twine
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 12 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 oz. canned tuna, minced
  • 3 tbsp. capers, minced, plus more
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 5 anchovy filets, minced
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Step 1

Bring salt, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, sage, carrots, onion, celery, rosemary, and 8 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven. Add veal, reduce heat; simmer, covered, until a thermometer reads 135°, 30–40 minutes. Transfer veal to a plate; cover with foil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer carrots to a cutting board and cut into 1⁄4" pieces; set aside. Discard broth.

Step 2

Whisk together mustard and yolks in a bowl. While whisking, drizzle in 1 tsp. oil until mixture is thick. While whisking, drizzle in 1 1⁄4 cups oil until sauce becomes creamy. In a bowl, whisk together remaining oil, tuna, capers, lemon juice, and anchovies. Whisk mixture into sauce; season lightly with salt and pepper; set aside.

Step 3

Thinly slice veal across grain and arrange on a platter; top with sauce. Garnish with carrots, capers, parsley, lemon, and olives.

Pairing note: A crisp white like Matteo Correggia Roero Arneis 2008 ($19) is a lovely match for this piquant dish.

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