Vitello tonnato

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You will need to prepare this recipe 1 day ahead
Time 01 Hour 25 Minutes
  • 1.2 kg veal or yearling beef girello
  • 2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 250ml white wine
  • 150ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 canned anchovy fillets
  • Water, enough to cover meat
  • 12 rocket leaves, to serve
  • 20 salted capers, rinsed, drained to serve
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved to serve
  • Caperberries, to serve
  • Crusty bread, to serve
  • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Tuna sauce
  • 400g good quality canned tuna in oil, drained and broken up into chunks
  • 4 eggs
  • 80g salted capers, rinsed, drained
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Requires: Plastic wrap (cling film), blender

How to Make It
Step 1

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sear the girello for a few minutes until nicely browned all over. Add the white wine, white wine vinegar, celery, cloves and bay leaves and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour enough water to just cover the meat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes or until the girello is cooked (the juices should run clear when a skewer is inserted). Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the cooking liquid. If the meat is not cooked, return to the saucepan for a few minutes, being careful to not overcook. Set the meat aside to cool to room temperature.

Step 2

Add the anchovy fillets to the cooking liquid. Increase to high heat and cook until reduced by three-quarters (approximately 30-40 minutes). Use a fine sieve to strain the reduced cooking liquid and set aside to cool.

Step 3

To make the tuna sauce, place the eggs in a small saucepan and cook, covered completely with water, over high heat. Bring to the boil, then cook for a further 9 minutes. Carefully tip out the boiling water from the saucepan and fill with cold water to cool the eggs. Once cool, peel the eggs and roughly chop.

Step 4

Place the tuna, cooled chopped eggs, capers and lemon juice into a blender. Turn on the blender and add the olive oil through the feed tube until combined. With the blender still running, slowly add the reduced cooking liquid. Continue to blend until a smooth, sauce-like consistency forms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5

Slice the veal (or yearling beef) as thin as possible across the grain and set aside. Ladle 1/4 of the tuna sauce into a gravy boat and set aside.

Step 6

To create the vitello tonnato dish, spread 1/4 of the tuna sauce on the base of a serving plate. Arrange half of the veal in a single layer, overlapping slightly on top of the tuna sauce and spread another 1/4 of the tuna sauce to cover. Arrange a second layer of veal slices, finishing with a layer of the remaining tuna sauce. Cover the vitello tonnato with plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate overnight for the flavours to further develop. Cover the tuna sauce gravy boat with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Step 7

Remove the vitello tonnato and gravy boat with tuna sauce from the fridge half an hour before serving. To serve, arrange rocket leaves, capers, caperberries and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano on top of the vitello tonnato. Serve with plenty of crusty bread and extra tuna sauce – buon appetito.

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