I finally got to show you another classic Italian dish, Vitello Tonnato, very popular all over the world and rightly so. I understood its taste only after the third attempt. I had to try several different recipes, so I'm glad I didn't give up after the first failure. Being a simple food, with two special ingredients - the meat and the sauce, it's very important to use your own tastes to guide you, your preferences and the availability of products from local stores.
After all, it's veal/beef, cooked and thinly sliced, then seasoned with a delicious mayonnaise sauce with tuna and capers. I would never have thought that tuna sauce combines so well with meat, that its taste feels so complete and fine.
Don't be afraid of the special ingredients in the Vitello Tonnato recipe, they can already be found in almost any supermarket (the anchovy fillets and the pickled capers). You can use any veal cut - I had leg, that's what I found in the stores nearby. Tenderloin or fillet would be ideal, but don't give up if you don't have it.
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In a large, deep saucepan, place the meat, 1 onion, carrots and celery.
Pour the wine.
You can skip it if you don't have or prefer it without.
Add water (or meat broth, if you have) enough to cover the meat completely.
Put the bay leaves and peppercorns here, turn on the heat, place the pot over heat.
When it comes to the boil, cover with a lid, turn the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours.
Once the meat is cooked, it's very important to let it cool completely in the water in which it boiled.
I usually boil it in the evening and leave overnight to cool.
Remove from the water and wipe it with a paper towel, to absorb the liquid as well as possible.
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours more, perhaps covered with plastic wrap. We want the meat to harden, to be able to cut it into thin and straight slices.
Remove from the fridge, take a knife as sharp as possible and cut the meat into thin slices.
Arrange them nicely on the plate.
I also like to place the sliced meat in glass boxes with lids. After I finish cutting the whole piece, I freeze the remainings and use them when I make a beef (boeuf) salad.
The sauce for the meat is prepared as follows:
- in a bowl, place 3 raw egg yolks;
- beat with the mixer, pouring little by little 200ml of oil, until it's fully incorporated, like homemade mayonnaise;
- in another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of capers and 4 salted anchovy fillets;
- add here the canned tuna, with the juice or oil well drained;
- take a hand blender and mix very well;
- add the fish paste to the mayonnaise we prepared a little earlier, blend well again;
- at the end, you get a uniform sauce. Taste it and see if it needs adjustments, with salt or maybe with a little lemon juice.
I like to make it thinner with some Greek yogurt (2-3 tablespoons), for a fresher and very pleasant taste.
Pour this sauce over the meat slices.
Decorate with pickled capers on top, for the looks and for an extra taste.
It can be served immediately, but it's even better after it's been kept in the fridge for a while.
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