Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)
With its intense flavor and elegant presentation, this dish makes a lovely entree for any gathering.
Yield: serves 6-8
For Poaching the Meat
- 2 1⁄2 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 1⁄4 cups mayonnaise
- 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.
- 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.
- When meat is cool, transfer to a cutting board. Remove trussing strings, and carefully cut into uniformly thin slices.
- 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.
- 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.