We had really enjoyed our “Vitello Tonnato” when we were in Italy and wanted to try something similar now we were in France, but on this occasion we couldn’t find any veal. So ‘necessity being the mother of invention’ (more…)
So our first experiment with the Italian Veal had worked well and so on to the Vitello Tonnato – As this dish is served cold it can easily be produced 24-48 hours in advance and I think will have some real “mileage” not just here on holiday but back home – in the summer but also in those lovely autumn evenings before the real “cold weather” sets in.
For this dish we were using the bigger portion of veal silverside. We would cook it whole let it cool and then slice thinly as the basis of the dish
The first thing to do was remove the “silverskin”. There is often a layer of connective tissue on meat like silverside which when cooked adds nothing to the quality or taste of the meat and can often just leave an unpleasant “chewy finish”. It is a bit of a fiddle and requires getting a sharp knife under the silverskin and then working it between the silverskin and the meat itself – rather like when skinning fish. This silverskin can then just be discarded.
Lightly dust the veal all over with a rub – ours was from necessity very simple. Salt. pepper, sweet paprika and some mixed herbs. The meat was put to one side whilst the Big Green Egg was lit and came up to a temperature of 100C. The set up was for an indirect cook with the platesetter feet upwards and with a handful of Hickory wood chips which had been soaking sprinkled just outside the burning charcoal centre.
We were using the cast-iron grill as this was the only one we had brought with us though at home I would probably have used the stainless steel grill.
The veal took around an hour to reach an internal temperature of 52C. I would normally test this with a ETI Thermapen but as we were ‘traveling light’ we relied on the rather neat “iGrill” mini” – a relatively inexpensive bluetooth indwelling temperature probe. see http://smokedfinefood.co.uk/chicken/spatchcock-in-the-beechwood/
Whilst the veal was cooking it was time to make the the tuna sauce. A 160g can of tuna and one tablespoon of capers were drained. The capers roughly chopped (classically the whole mix would have been blended – but we were on holiday and therefore we went for the “rustic approach”!) The tuna and chopped capers, were mixed with 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise and the juice of ½ lemon. This was seasoned with salt and pepper left in the fridge until needed.
To serve the vitello tonnato, the veal was sliced into neat thin slices and served on a bed of green salad, dressed with local olive oil and capers. The plate was garnished with the tonnato sauce and finished off with a drizzle of lemon juice – next time we will probably add some grated lemon zest too. Traditionally, Vitelli tomato is usually served as a single layer of veal with the slightly more fluid tonnato sauce spread over the top and then garnished with lemon. I know I am biased – but I think this version looks better!!
….… buon appetito!
Footnote: the Tonnato sauce also works beautifully with pork – see Pork Loin with Tuna and Caper Sauce – Lonza di mail Tonnato
Vitello Tonnato - with a twist!
Cold roasted veal with a tuna sauce dressing
- 750g Veal Silverside
- Olive Oil
- Green Salad
- For the Rub
- Salt, pepper, sweet paprika, dried herbs
- For the Tonnato Sauce
- A 160g can of tuna
- One tablespoon of capers
- 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- The juice of ½ lemon
- Step 1 Remove the “silverskin” from the veal using a Sharpe knife and discarded.
- Step 2 Lightly dust the veal all over with a rub
- Step 3 Set up the Big Green Egg for indirect cooking with some added Hickory chips for a little smoky flavour
- Step 4 When the temperature stabilises at 100C sit the veal on the grill and monitor the internal temperature with an indwelling probe
- Step 5 Once the veal reaches an internal temperature of 52C remove from the grill, wrap in foil and leave to cool in the fridge
- Step 6 To make the Tonnato Sauce – Drain a 160g can of tuna. Roughly chop one tablespoon of capers and mix the the tuna and 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise and the juice of ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper left and leave in the fridge until needed.
- Step 7 To serve the vitello tonnato – thinly slice the veal and serve on a bed of green salad dressed with olive oil and capers. Garnish with the tonnato sauce and finished off with a drizzle of lemon juice and some grated lemon zest.