You can eat Vitel Tonnè as a main dish, or as an appetizer or as a snack; in Italy it is a very appreciated cold dish.
This recipe of the Vitel Tonnè is once again originated from the north-east Italian region of Piedmont. One renomated characteristic of Piedmont cuisine is the variety and the tastiness of appetizers or antipasti which are served in several small portions as you sit down for a meal in a typical Piedmont restaurant.
One renomated of those starters is the Vitel Tonne’ which despite the French resemblance, is a dialectal form of Italian Vitello Tonnato which is basically a carpaccio of veal meat with a rich tuna sauce. For four persons you will need the ingredients below.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEAT OF VITEL TONNÈ
- 600-700 grams of veal meat. Eye round is highly recommended;
- 2 carrots;
- 1 onion;
- 1 leg of celery;
- 1 clove of garlic;
- rosemary and sage;
- a full glass of white wine;
- 1 bay leaf;
- 1 clove;
- a few spoonfuls of olive oil.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE OF VITEL TONNÈ
- 200 grams of canned tuna in olive oil;
- 2 eggs;
- 2 anchovies;
- a few capers;
- lemon juice;
- some white vinegar;
- extra virgin olive oil.
PREPARATION OF VITEL TONNÈ
Take a pot high enough to contain the meat covered with liquid. Pour 3-4 table spoonfuls of olive oil and add all the vegetables chopped in big chunks. Add all the herbs and heat it up stirring everything for a couple of minutes.
Lay in the meat, add some pinches of salt and pepper, the white wine and water to cover the meat almost completely. Turn down the flame to moderate and let the meat cook for one and a half to two hours. To prevent the meat from getting dry put a lid onto the pot and also be prepared to add some hot water if needed.
After the indicated cooking time, take out the meat and let it cool off completely. Indeed the vitello tonnato is meant to be a cold dish.
Many use to prepare it the day before it is served and, in any case, it will be much tastier after a full day in the fridge.
The tuna sauce has a few variants; my version is according to the original regional recipe or at least pretty much close to it.
Put into a bowl the tuna without its oil, two hard-boiled egg yolks, two anchovies, a few capers, a teaspoon of white vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some drops of lemon juice.
Blend everything with a mixer or cutter until it becomes a smooth creamy sauce. During the process you will adjust the taste and the thickness of the sauce by adding oil, lemon or cooking liquid from the meat until it meets your personal preference.
For the final preparation, cut the meat in thin slices and lay them on a serving dish. Cover completely with the sauce and spread a few capers on the top as decoration.
Remember to let your Vitel Tonnè rest in the fridge for a few hours in order to have the tastes of the meat and the sauce properly amalgamated. You will take it out thirty minutes before serving and it will be perfect.
A GOOD WINE FOR YOUR VITEL TONNÈ
When it comes to choose a wine to accompany our Vitel Tonnè, my preference goes to a dry fresh light white. It will help “clean” your mouth from the intense and oily taste of the tuna sauce and expresses a pleasant contrast.
A French Chablis whit its fresh mineral tone would be lovely but if you want to stay in Piedmont, you can try a bottle of Arneis, a very pleasant and flavored white from the hills of Roero, close to the city of Alba.
Feeling hungry when watching your favourite TV program on a Saturday night when you are the only one in family still awake? On a commercial break, go to the fridge and take some slices of Vitel Tonnè left over from the day before. Accompany it with some grissini and pour yourself a generous glass of Arneis for a very enjoyable midnight snack!