Vitello Tonnato with Tomatoes, Olives, and Basil Oil


Vitello tonnato is a classic Italian dish--perfect on a summer menu. It works equally well as a simple one-course lunch or as part of a buffet. Its beauty lies in the contrast of the sweet, delicate veal agains the creamy intense sauce. I've seen other meats used in place of veal, but I don't think anything else works as well. The meat is poached rather than roasted, to keep it moist and tender.

What you will need

3 lb. veal top round

1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 bay leaves

small bunch of Italian parsley

8 to 10 peppercorns

generous 3/4 cup homemade mayonnaise

1 (7-ounce) can fine-quality tuna, drained

2 Tbs. lemon juice

2 Tbs. capers (packed in salt), well rinsed and drained

3 fine-quality canned anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained

freshly ground black pepper

3 ripe tomatoes

2 handfuls of arugula leaves

lemon juice

olive oil

2 tbsp little black olives (ideally, Niçoise or Ligurian)

1 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained

3 Tbs. basil oil


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