Vitello Tonnato (Cold Veal With Tuna Sauce)

Recipe by MariaLuisa
READY IN: 25hrs


  • For the veal
  • 2
    lbs boneless veal roast, tied securely at one inch intervals (a solid cylindrical piece of meat, usually from the leg, with fascia and membranes removed)
  • 2
    carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 2
    onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1
    stalk celery, quartered
  • 2
  • water, to cover
  • For the tuna sauce
  • 1 12
    cups mayonnaise, preferably homemade (LOL. Just don't use salad dressing)
  • 6 12
    ounces tuna, preferably packed in oil, drained
  • 2
    anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 12
    small onions or 1/4 cup scallion, chopped
  • 14
    cup cold milk, approximately
  • For the assembly
  • 2
    tablespoons small drained capers
  • 1
    tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)
  • decorative lemon slice (optional)


  • For the veal place the meat, carrots, onions, celery, parsley, bay leaf and peppercorns in a fairly snug pot and add water to cover.
  • Cover and simmer for one hour. Check from time to time to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom.
  • Let cool in the cooking liquid for one hour.
  • Cover the veal with a plate and 2 lb weight and cool completely in the cooking liquid. (The purpose of weighing down the meat is to insure compact slices when cut. I usually omit this step because I don't have a kitchen weight.).
  • Store in refrigerator until assembly. If you feel creative, you could make something good with the broth; otherwise, it is discarded.
  • For the tuna sauce whip the mayonnaise, tuna, anchovy fillets, onion, and lemon juice at high speed in the processor fitted with a steel blade.
  • With the motor running add the milk in a thin stream until the desired consistency is reached. It should be thick but pourable.
  • For the assembly remove and discard any remaining bits of rubbery membrane on the veal and slice it thinly, no more than 1/4 inch thick. If some of the slices crumble, don't despair. It will still be good.
  • Smear 1/4 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a rimmed platter (I prefer glass).
  • Place the veal slices in slightly overlapping circles in the platter, and cover generously and completely with the sauce.
  • If you have more veal you can add another layer; just be sure that all is covered by the sauce.
  • (If you have more sauce than you need (it is tasty), you can combine it with cubed cooked cold chicken, turkey, or fish, or pour it over cold hard-boiled eggs.).
  • The dish should cool in the refrigerator for several hours or up to 2-3 days, covered with plastic wrap.
  • Before serving sprinkle on the capers, optional parsley, and garnish with the lemon slices, if desired.