Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)

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.

Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce) 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 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

Instructions

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