Vitello tonnato is one of my favorite dishes. The combination of slices of tender veal with a tuna sauce is surprisingly delicious. I’ve posted a sous-vide version of Vitello Tonnato before, but in that version only the veal was cooked sous-vide. This can be taken a step further, by cooking the tuna and the eggs sous-vide as well. This way, the sauce will have a cleaner, more elegant flavor.
For 4 servings
450 grams (1 lb) veal, eye of round
2 anchovy fillets, or a similar amount of anchovy paste
freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
1 Tbsp capers
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
115 grams (4 oz) fresh tuna
a bay leaf
1 stick celery
1 sprig rosemary
125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
Vacuum seal 115 grams (4 oz) of fresh tuna with 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1/4 salt.
If you do not have a chamber vacuum sealer, use a ziploc bag and the water displacement method.
Cook sous-vide for 1 hour at 71ºC/160ºF together with two eggs in their shell. Then take eggs and tuna out of the sous-vide and allow to cool.
In the meantime, season the veal with salt and freshly ground black pepper and brown it on all sides in olive oil over high heat.
We are just browning the veal, not cooking it through. So take it out of the pan as soon as it is nicely golden on all sides.
Put the veal on a plate to cool. Keep the fat in the pan.
Mince 1/2 carrot, 1/2 onion, a stick of celery, a bay leaf, 2 cloves, and the needles of a sprig of rosemary.
Put the vegetable mixture in the pan in which you browned the veal, and stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Deglaze with 125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine.
Allow the alcohol to evaporate for a couple of minutes over medium heat, then turn off the heat and allow to cool off.
The veal will have released some juices while cooling. We never waste any flavor, so…
…those juices need to be added to the vegetable mixture in the pan.
Vacuum seal the veal with the vegetables. If you do not own a chamber vacuum sealer, use a ziploc bag and the water displacement method. For this method, the veal and vegetables do not have to be cold.
When using a chamber vacuum sealer, the veal and vegetables have to be cold before vacuum sealing, as the low pressure would otherwise cause the contents of the bag to come to a boil (the boiling point of water is lower at a low pressure, as you may remember from science class).
Put the veal in the sous-vide…
…for 3 to 5 hours. The cooking time is not very exact. After that, allow the veal to cool.
To make the tuna sauce, peel the eggs and put them in the food processor together with the tuna, 2 anchovy fillets (or a similar amount of anchovy paste), a tablespoon of rinsed and dried capers, some extra virgin olive oil, and about a tablespoon of the cooking liquid from the veal.
Process until smooth, adding more extra virgin olive oil if needed.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Once the veal has cooled off in the refrigerator, slice it thinly against the grain.
Arrange the slices of veal on a platter, spread a layer of the tuna sauce on top, and allow the flavors to marry for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
Serve cooler than room temperature, but warmer than refrigerator temperature.
Vitello Tonnato is a dish from Piemonte, and it goes well with a white Gavi di Gavi from that same region.
Gnocchi alla sorrentina are potato gnocchi with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.