Do not let the sound of these ingredients put you off. The non-veal ingredients are used to create a “mayonnaise” that covers the thinly sliced veal. This mayonnaise-sauce has a bouquet of complimentary flavors that enhance the veal slices.
This is a traditional dish from the Piedmonte region. Memorie di Angelina.com provides an in depth discussion of the origin and different versions of this dish. It is interesting to note the origin of the “mayonaise” came from the French influence, due to proximity, on the Piedmontese cooking. The dish is prepared slightly differently in other parts of Italy. In some areas, no “mayonnaise” is used, rather a creamy sauce is made from the tuna, olive oil and some of the broth the veal is cooked in.
It is hard to find the cuts of meats used in Italy: leg, top round or eye of round. But don’t give up. This dish can be made with pork, or even turkey. A pork loin cut is your best bet. But using loin requires you to not overcook, 45 – 60 minutes is recommended (20 to 30 minutes if you use pork tenderloin).
So all-in-all, it is hard to say what is “authentic,” regarding Vitello Tonnato.
Vitello Tonnato senza Maionese
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs sage
- 1 medium carrot, halved crosswise
- 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
- 1 stalk celery, halved crosswise
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1⁄4 cup packed parsley leaves
- 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- 1 cup olive oil
- 8 canned anchovy fillets, drained
- 1⁄3 cup capers
- Step 1 Place about a 1 3/4 lb (800 gm) veal tenderloin, or top-round in a pot large enough to hold it. Add Rosemary, garlic, onion, carrot, celery, Laurel, 2 tbs olive oil, and white wine. Cover with water, bring to boil and then reduce heat to low simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until meat reaches 135°F internal temperature. Remove from pot and allow meat to cool.
- Step 2 For the sauce, coursely chop (200gm) tuna and 5 fillets of anchovies, both drained o f excess oil. Add salt and place tuna and anchovies in food processor (or use emersion blender) with capers, lemon zest, vinegar, egg yolks, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until sauce is emulsified.
- Step 3 Slice veal about 1/8″ – 3/16″ (3 mm) and put it on a plate, spread the sauce over the veal. Garnish with some capers and serve. Note, you may julianne the carrot you cooked the veal with and add them along with Italian parsley as garnish.