Vitel toné, or vitello tonnato as it is known in its native Italy, is a dish where cold veal is covered in a rich sauce flavored with tuna. In Argentina, this is a traditional Christmas dish, and it is also a popular choice for New Years eve celebrations. The dish was brought to Argentina by immigrants from Piedmont. Vitel toné is served chilled or at room temperature, and can be either the main dish or an elegant antipasto.
Traditionally, vitel toné was made from fresh white tuna cooked in white wine, cider vinegar, white onion and garlic. Today, canned tuna is commonly used both at restaurants and when making this dish at home, since it is cheaper and saves time.
Vitel Toné recipe (8 servings)
- 3 lbs veal eye of round roast, cleaned and trimmed of fat
- Water (enough to cover veal roast)
- 2 white onions, quartered
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
- 1 bunch scallion, cleaned and chopped
- Parsley, to taste
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 8 hard-boiled egg yolks
- 2 cans of tuna fish in oil, drained
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 small can or jar anchovies (roughly 12 fillets)
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Place the veal in a large pot and add water until the water covers the roast.
- Bring to a boil, before adding white onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, garlic, scallion, parsely and the coarse salt. Cook for roughly 1 hour, while continously removing the white foam that forms at the top of the water.
- Turn off the heat and leave the veal roast to cool in the broth.
- While the veal is cooling, fluff the tuna with a fork. Place the fluffed tuna in a blender together with the hard-boiled egg yolks and extra virgin olive oil. Use the blender to produce a smooth mix.
- Take 1 cup of broth from the pot (where the veal is cooling) and add it to the mixture in the blender. Continue blending while adding mustard, mayonnaise and anchovies. If the mixture becomes too thick, add some more broth. The ideal texture is somewhere between a sandwich spread and a liquid sauce.
- Taste the mixture in the blender, and then add salt and pepper to taste. (Anchovies can be pretty salty, so you may not have to add any salt at all.)
- Check if the veal is cool yet. It if is, remove it from the broth and cut it into thin slices. Arrange the slices on a serving platter.
- Cover the veal with the sauce from the blender. Decorate by sprinkling with capers.
Tip! For a more spicy version, add cayenne pepper to the sauce.