Vitello tonnato, Italy on a plate!

Photos credits : C’est Ma Food.

The name ‘vitello tonnato’ may sound like an opera but in fact it is one of the emblematic dishes of Italy’s Piedmont region, which is renowned for its elegant cuisine.
This recipe brings together the earth and the sea in an alliance of force and gentleness.

It is a very refreshing dish which makes it a great choice for warmer days. The strong character of the sauce, made with tuna, capers and anchovies, is softened by mixing it with homemade mayonnaise. And this sauce perfectly offsets the thin slices of veal, lightly cooked in a stock.

An A.O.C Rasteauwine with a light structure is ideally suited to accompany this dish, a wine with roundness, generosity, and bite, aromas of dark fruit and notes of menthol.

This is Italy in your plate, and the promise that summer is never far away!

Preparation time: 20 minutes / Cooking time: 20 minutes / Rest time: 1 hour minimum / Serves 4 – 6.


For the veal:

  • 800 g roast veal cutlet from your local butcher
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 branch of celery
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • A few sprigs of parsley
  • 1 tsp of whole peppercorns
  • 2 glasses of white wine

For the sauce: 

  • 2 extra-fresh egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp of mustard, at room temperature
  • 100 ml oil (half sunflower, half olive)
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice, at room temperature
  • 100 g of white tuna in oil (oil drained off)
  • 20 g capers
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • ½ tbsp of chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper

To garnish: 

  • 12 capers
  • A few leaves of flat parsley


For the veal

  1. In a large saucepan, place the veal with the onion, roughly chopped, the vegetables cut into large chunks, the bouquet garni, the parsley, the peppercorns and the wine. Add water to cover the meat, and season with salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to cool in this stock.

For the sauce

  1. Beat together the egg yolks and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Add the oil slowly while beating the mixture. Add the lemon juice. Continue to beat until you obtain a good mayonnaise texture.
  2. Mix the drained tuna with the capers, anchovies and parsley. Season with pepper.
  3. Gently mix the mayonnaise with the tuna preparation. Cover with stretch film and leave to cool in the fridge.

To serve

  1. Slice the cold meat very thinly and arrange them so that they cover your serving plate. Decorate the vitello tonatto with capers and parsley and accompany with the tuna and anchovy sauce.

Tip: If you have any of the tonnato sauce left over, drizzle it over little croutons of toasted bread and serve as an aperitif, it’s delicious!

Check out all our food and wine pairing recipes!

Photo credits: Anne Faubeau for C’est Ma Food.

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