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Veal With Tuna Sauce (Vitello Tonnato)

Vitello tonnato is a Piedmontese dish of cold, sliced veal covered with a creamy, mayonnaise-like sauce that has been flavored with tuna. It is served chilled or at room temperature as the main course of an Italian meal or as antipasto.  This dish has unlikely ingredients, but the end result is quite delicious!  Be sure to read the post The Veal Deal for more info and recipes on veal.

1.25 kg thick piece boneless veal topside
1 small onion
a few cloves
2 bay leaves
2 celery sticks, halved
1 small carrot, peeled
6 black peppercorns
150 ml dry white wine

2 large eggs
1 clove garlic, peeled
5 ml salt
275 ml canola or sunflower oil
30 ml white wine vinegar
1 x 170 g best-quality tuna in brine, drained
2 tinned anchovy fillets, drained
15 ml salted capers, rinsed and drained
15 ml lemon juice (or more, to taste)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

a few extra capers
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 ° C and place the veal in a medium roasting tin.
  2. Stud the onion with the cloves and add this to the tin, along with the bay leaves, celery, carrot, peppercorns and wine.
  3. Place the roasting tin in the oven and roast the veal for 1¼ hours.
  4. In the mean time, make the sauce.
  5. Add the whole eggs into the bowl of a food processor and add the garlic and 5 ml salt.
  6. Measure the oil into a jug and switch the food processor on.
  7. To blend everything thoroughly, pour the oil in a thin, very steady trickle with the motor running. Be very careful here – too much oil in too soon means the sauce will curdle.
  8. When all the oil is in, add the white wine vinegar and blend.
  9. Next add the tuna, anchovy fillets and capers, and process again till smooth.
  10. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  11. When the veal is ready, take it out of the oven and leave everything to get cold.
  12. Take the veal out of the roasting tin and discard the vegetables, bay leaves, peppercorns and any remaining wine.
  13. Slice the meat very thinly and arrange it in a large, shallow serving dish.
  14. Spoon the sauce decoratively over the meat.
  15. Scatter over a few capers and garnish with the lemon slices.

6 servings.

The sauce can be made well ahead and kept in the fridge till needed.- The dish should be made and refrigerated for 1 to 5 days to fully develop the flavor.

Recipe adapted from the original recipe by Delia Smith.

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