With the often very warm weather throughout much of the year, veal tonnato would be a welcome sight nearly year round at many Italian restaurants in Houston, but it is rarely found. There isn’t much veal on Houston Italian restaurant menus, for one. And, veal in tuna sauce might seem a little obscure to many. Not only here; veal tonnato has not really found too often on Italian menus around the country. Looking at around 650 Italian restaurant menus over the years, veal tonnato showed up on just 4% of them. The dish is a specialty of eastern Piedmont and that’s also found in the adjacent region south of Milan. The cuisine of that area, lauded in Italy, hasn’t been found at too many restaurants here. It’s shame that it’s tough to find when heading out. You might need to make it yourself:
Veal round or shoulder – 1 ¾ pound
White wine vinegar – 1 tablespoon
Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Canned tuna, drained – 7 ounces
Anchovy filets, drained – 3
Capers, drained and rinsed – 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon for garnishing
Egg yolks, hard-boiled – 2
Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
Lemon – 1
Cook the veal:
- Tie the veal with string.
- Add the veal, carrot, onion, celery stalk, vinegar and olive oil to the pan.
- Add enough water to a deep pan to cover the veal, add the salt and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat until the veal is tender, about two hours.
- Turn off the heat and allow the veal to cool in the stock.
Make the sauce:
- Put the tuna, anchovy, capers and hard-boiled egg yolks into a food processer and process for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the olive oil, the juice of the lemon and about 3 tablespoons of the stock from cooking the veal and then turn on the food processors for about 15 seconds more. The sauce should have the consistency of freshly made mayonnaise.
- Untie the veal and slice fairly thinly. Spoon the sauce over the veal. Garnish with the remaining capers. Refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving.
Adapted from The Silver Spoon cookbook.
A more artistic version of veal tonnato at a restaurant at the Enoclub restaurant in Alba, Piedmont a couple of years ago. Maybe a little bit blurry because of all the wine.