Rose Veal Vitello Tonnato

A rich tuna sauce plays a supporting role in this take on the classic Piemontese dish.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    3 hours


By Tony Ferrari

Published on May 15, 2024

Cincinnati chef Tony Ferrari believes rose veal loin or top round—roasted until rare—make for an impeccable vitello tonnato, a traditional Piedmontese antipasto. “Rose veal is great for this because of how flavorful it is on the raw or rare side,” Ferrari says. “With vitello tonnato, you want quality veal because, as with most things Italian, it’s a simple dish where less is more.” Rose veal is quite lean and can dry out quickly, so Ferrari sears it fast to retain a medium-rare temperature and the meat’s natural juices.

Unlike traditional veal, which typically comes from young cattle raised in unsanitary feedlots, rose veal (also called rose beef) is always pasture-raised, and can be purchased online from Our Home Place Meat, a cooperative of farmers dedicated to high animal welfare standards.


  • 1½ lb. rose veal loin or top round
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting and garnish
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. light olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus more
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar
  • 3 caper berries, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 2 oil-cured anchovy fillets
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 garlic clove
  • One 5-oz. can oil-packed tuna
  • 1⁄2 cup finely chopped celery leaves or parsley leaves, for garnish
  • Thinly sliced radishes, for garnish


Step 1

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Season the veal with salt and black pepper to taste, then drizzle lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and rub evenly to coat. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part of the meat reads 140°F, about 30 minutes. (The meat will still be quite rare.) 

Step 2

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the light olive oil over high heat until slightly smoking. Add the veal and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large platter and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 24 hours. 

Step 3

Meanwhile, to the cup of an immersion blender or the bowl of a small food processor, add the lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, caper berries, anchovies, egg yolk, and garlic, followed by the remaining light olive oil. Pulse until all of the oil has emulsified. Add the tuna and continue pulsing until a smooth sauce forms. Transfer the sauce to a medium bowl, then slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil while whisking continuously until all of the oil has emulsified. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and more lemon juice. 

Step 4

On a large cutting board, thinly slice the veal against the grain. Spoon the tuna sauce in an even layer over a large platter, then arrange the veal slices over it. (If you like, you may cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours to allow the flavors to meld.) 

Step 5

When ready to serve, top the veal with celery and parsley leaves, sliced radishes, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, caper berries, and a sprinkle of salt. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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