Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stresa Travel Recipes: Vitello Tonnato

In the name of research I've dug out my Piemonte recipe book that came with the Corriere della Sera newspaper a few years ago. I've got the full collection for every region in Italy but have to confess to not having used them very often! I guess it's the usual story of a shelf full of cookery books that you only delve into once in a while.

I've decided to try a recipe that I've been curious about for a long time and that Luca assures me he loves! Vitello Tonnato is sliced, cold roast veal with a tuna fish sauce. I'll be honest that the idea of meat with a fish sauce doesn't immediately get my taste-buds tingling but it is a local dish that is often served in Stresa's hotels so I'm going to give it a go.

When I went to the butcher to get the piece of veal his wife checked how I was going to go about the recipe (roast or boiled veal, sauce made separate or cooked together) and my answers of roast and sauce made separate seemed to go down well, so it looks like the recipe book is faithful to the real thing!

Ingredients (for 6 people)

1kg piece of veal (in Italian the cuts is called which I think would be the rump roast)
1 glass dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
olive oil
salt and pepper

200g tuna in olive oil
3 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
2 salt-packed anchovies
2 spoons of capers in vinegar
400ml olive oil


Heat the oven to 150°C / 300°F

Seal the piece of meat in an ovenproof dish or tin with 3 spoons of olive oil. Add salt, pepper and then add the white wine and cook until it evaporates. Add the bay leaf and onion then cover the dish and cook in the oven for about 1 hour.

In the meantime you can prepare the sauce. Beat the egg yolks with a pinch of salt and pepper then add the lemon juice and whilst still beating, add the 400ml olive oil in a very thin stream. The sauce will emulsify into mayonnaise. Drain the capers and rinse all the salt from the anchovies. In a pestle and mortar give the tuna, capers and anchovies a good pounding then add to the mayonnaise. Work the sauce until it is nice and smooth.

When the veal is cooked let it cool and slice it into very thin slices and lay them out on your serving plate. Cover the veal with the tuna mayonnaise sauce and serve with salad and/or as we did, some cold new potatoes.

My verdict? Well the combination of meat and fish was actually very nice and it was a great cold dish for a hot day. It uses a lot of oil so not something I would make everyday, but I'll certainly be making it again. Luca definitely approved - the fact he used plenty of bread to mop up every last drop of the sauce is usually a good sign!

Let me know if you have a go.

Here's the photo: apologies for an unappetizing image ..... only had my phone to hand :(

The finished product!
Oh and if anyone's wondering what the recipe is for the pudding on the front of the book (pictured above) then watch this space...... might be my next attempt at piemontese cooking :)

Sarah, Viaggi Tomassucci

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