Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vitello Tonnato - Veal with Tuna Sauce

In summer when the temperature starts rising many turn away from eating meat, considered an heavy food to digest. Vitello Tonnato also known as Veal Tonne’ It is a perfect cold dish for summer lunches. It was created in Northern Italy, most probably in Lombardia. The recipe seems to have French influences but it is authentic Italian, as even Pellegrino Artusi has this recipe in his book La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene, published in 1891.  Very popular in the 1960s it is a very simple dish with many variations that can accommodate any taste.

for the meat:
1 whole onion, approx 4 oz (100 gr)
2 cloves
1 whole carrot, approx. 4 oz (100 gr)
1 whole celery stick
1 whole fresh tomato, approx. 4 oz (100 gr)
1 whole fresh tomato approx. 100 gr
salt and pepper
2 lb (approx. 1000 gr) veal
4-5 quarts (4-5 liters) water
for the sauce:
1/2 lb (200 gr) canned tuna fish in oil
4 anchovy fillets
3 tbl.spn. capers
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 caps mayonnaise
for the decoration:
3 lemon slices
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon capers

Stick the cloves in the onion. Fill a stock pot with water, add carrot, celery, onion, tomato, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and add the veal. Cook for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat and cool at room temperature. Place the meat in the refrigerator  for 3 - 4 hours. Filter the broth and reserve for a different preparation.

 In a food processor put tuna fish.
Add anchovies, capers, lemon juice, oil, and run the blade to reduce to a very fine and smooth paste. If the sauce is too dense add 2-3 tablespoons broth to obtain the right consistency. Transfer the mix to a bowl, stir in the mayonnaise, and mix until obtaining an homogeneous paste.
Cut the meat in thin slices, place in a serving place, and cover with the sauce. The preparation can be kept in the refrigerator overnight if necessary. Garnish with lemon slices, capers, parsley just before serving.

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