Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


Use extra-virgin olive oil if you're making your own mayonnaise, or whisk a little into the prepared variety to add more fruity flavor.


For Poaching the Meat

  • 2 12 lb. lean veal roast, preferably top round, firmly trussed
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, without leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 1 dried bay leaf

For the Tuna Sauce

  • 1 (7-oz.) can imported tuna, packed in olive oil
  • 5 flat anchovy filets
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3 tbsp. capers, soaked and rinsed
  • 1 14 cups mayonnaise


Step 1

For poaching the meat: Put veal in a deep, heavy pan. Add carrots, celery, onions, parsley, bay leaf, and enough water to cover. Remove meat and set it aside. Cover pan, bring water to a boil, then add veal. Return to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and gently simmer for 2 hours. Add more water if necessary. Remove from heat, set aside, and allow meat to cool in the stock.

Step 2

For the tuna sauce: Drain tuna and put into a food processor with anchovies, olive oil, lemon juice, and capers. Process until it becomes a creamy, beige-colored sauce. Fold sauce gently, but thoroughly, into mayonnaise. If made ahead of time, refrigerate.

Step 3

When meat is cool, transfer to a cutting board. Remove trussing strings, and carefully cut into uniformly thin slices.

Step 4

Spread some of the tuna sauce on bottom of a platter. Over it, lay a single layer of veal slices, edge to edge, without overlapping; cover with sauce. Repeat layering, ending with sauce.

Step 5

Cover veal with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. (It will keep for at least a week.) Bring to room temperature before serving. Use a spatula to smooth the top, and garnish with some or all of the suggested garnishes.

Suggested Garnishes:

Thin slices of lemon
Pitted black olives, slivered
Whole capers
Whole Italian parsley leaves
Anchovy filets