Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna-Caper Sauce)

vitello-tonnato-italian-veal-with-tuna-caper-sauce

Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna-Caper Sauce)

In this classic dish, cold sliced veal is served under a blanket of creamy tuna mayonnaise.Ingalls Photography

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."

Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna-Caper Sauce)
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.
Yield: serves 8

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
  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.