Sunday, 4 October 2009

Vitello tonnato

Recipe from Anna Maria’s

Vitello tonnato is a delicious combination of pot roasted lean veal and a tuna and anchovy mayonnaise. Is it Bolognese? More likely from Piedmont in the North West, but Anna Maria has it on her very select menu so that’s probably good enough. Since we are not great veal eaters, you may prefer to make it with a tasty free range chicken or turkey. Either way, it is a great dish for a hot summer’s day, perhaps served with salad and plainly boiled potatoes, or as a grand antipasto. I think it is best prepared the day before, to allow the flavours to develop and mingle.

I asked her chef, Simonetta Cesari, for the recipe and this is what she said.

Ingredients (for 4)

1 tin of tuna (drained)
250g onions
2 medium sized anchovies
100g capers
50g mayonnaise
450g veal (or chicken or turkey breast)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper


1. If you are using veal, brown it lightly in the oil, then add the onions finely chopped and enough water to cover and roast in a medium oven with a lid on the pot for one hour.
2. If you are using chicken or turkey breasts, poach them whole in a covered pan with the onions quartered on a medium heat for 30 minutes, inserting a knife at the end to ensure that there is no pinkness and that they are cooked through.
3. Once the meat is cool, drain it, reserving the cooking liquor.
4. Meanwhile make the sauce: mix or process the drained tuna, anchovies, capers and mayonnaise, adding a spot of the meat cooking liquor if it needs thinning. You want to end up with a creamy sauce that is easy to spread.
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper if it needs it.
6. Finely slice the meat and lay it on a plate. Pour some of the tuna mayonnaise on top or dribble fashionably around the plate and serve with the remainder of the sauce in a jug for guests to help themselves to.

Since this can be a very beige dish, I like to add finely chopped herbs such as parsley and chives to the mayonnaise for colour and flavour. You might also like to decorate the plate with finely sliced anchovy and capers.

Trattoria Anna Maria
Via delle Belle Arti, 17
40126 Bologna
051 266894‎

Closed Mondays

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