It’s one of the mainstay classics of Piedmontese cuisine: vitello tonnato, boiled veal, chilled and then thinly sliced, and then topped with a creamy sauce made with tuna, anchovies, capers, and boiled eggs.
While there are a thousand different recipes, each with their own nuance, the procedure boils down (excuse the pun) to basically the same formula.
You simmer the veal with cloves, bay leaf, white wine, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Once cool, you thinly slice and top with a sauce made by mixing boiled eggs, olive oil-cured tuna, oil-cured anchovies, capers, and a little bit of the veal’s cooking water to give the sauce its distinctive creamy texture.
Some may omit certain ingredients or add others. Some may cook the veal sous vide or may roast it. But the components, the procedure, and the results are more or less the same.
The one thing that some may not realize about vitello tonnato is that one of the key elements is the quality of the veal. Piedmont is renowned for its cattle and many of its standby dishes are made using raw veal, for example. It’s the veal itself that contributes most of the flavor in this wonderful recipe.
Another thing that makes vitello tonnato such a unique and unusual dish is that chefs and home cooks love to play with the presentation, the mise en place.
Over the next couple weeks, as we dream of returning to Italy, we’ll be posting some of our favorite vitello tonnato shots.
Can you tell that we are vitello tonnato fanatics?
Stay tuned… #IMissItaly #IMissVitelloTonnato!