Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna-Caper Sauce)

  • Serves

    serves 8


For this classic Italian summer dish, it’s important to braise the veal slowly and give it time to chill overnight. Blanketing the delicate slices with a rich tuna mayonnaise imparts a contrast of textures and flavors, which are enhanced with a colorful garnish of capers, parsley, anchovies, and lemon slices. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2014 issue with Sophie Brickman's story "The Feast of Life."


  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 (2 1/2-lb.) piece veal top round, tied with kitchen twine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 1 medium carrot, halved crosswise
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, halved crosswise
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 14 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 (5-oz.) can oil-packed tuna, drained
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 13 cup capers
  • 8 canned anchovy fillets, drained


Step 1

Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season veal with salt and pepper; cook, turning as needed, until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer veal to plate. Add bay leaves, thyme, sage, carrot, onion, and celery to pan; cook until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add wine; reduce by half, 3–4 minutes. Return veal to pan and add 3 cups water; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of veal reads 135°, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half each the carrot and celery to a cutting board; julienne and set aside. Discard broth or strain and reserve for another use.

Step 2

Purée half each the capers and parsley with the vinegar, zest, 4 anchovies, the yolks, tuna, salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until sauce is emulsified. Thinly slice veal across grain and arrange on a platter; top with sauce. Garnish with reserved carrot and celery plus remaining capers, parsley, anchovies, and the lemon slices.

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