My daughter adores olives. It hints towards her love of anything salty and savory. The first time she tasted Vitello Tonnato when I ordered it in an authentic Italian restaurant, she took the plate and finished it. I don’t see it on menus very often when I am eating out, so I decided to learn how to make it at home.
2 ½ Pound Veal Eye Round (you can use to top round too, but it’s hard to find and expensive).
2T canola oil
6 black peppercorns
1 onion halved
1 medium carrot halved
1 celery stalk
2 garlic cloves
5 whole cloves (or a tsp of ground)
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
2 springs sage
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup parsley leaves packed
3 T white wine vinegar
1 T grated lemon zest (about a whole lemon)
4 egg yolks
1 5 oz. can tuna packed in oil
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup of capers (about 1 skinny jar)
8 canned anchovy fillets drained
Braise the Veal
Heat oil in a 6 qt Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season veal with salt and pepper, and place in Dutch oven and brown, turning until it is brown on all sides for about 15 minutes. Transfer veal to plate. Add bay leaves, thyme, sage, carrot, onion, and celery to the pan and cook until soft for about 8-10 minutes. Add wine to deglaze the pan and reduce by half for about 3-4 minutes. Return veal to pan and add 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the veal reads 135 degrees (about 30 minutes – but check after 20). Transfer cooked veal to plate and cool. Using a slotted spoon remove the carrot and celery from the broth, and cut into julienne strips, and reserve for garnish.
Make the Tuna Caper Sauce
Puree half of the capers and parsley in a food processor (or powerful blender) with vinegar, zest, 4 anchovy filets, egg yolks, tuna, salt, and pepper until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil into the sauce to create an emulsion.
Plate the Veal
Thinly slice the veal across the grain and arrange on a platter or individual plates. Top with the tuna caper sauce and garnish with the julienne celery and carrot. Sprinkle with parsley and capers, and fresh pepper to taste. I also will often top with caper berries if you can find them, and a small anchovy fillet if desired.