from both sides of the pond
Tasty Query - recipes search engine

Authentic Vitello Tonnato

Vitello tonnato is one of the most classic Italian appetizers, boasting juicy poached veal with a tuna sauce. This dish is typically served cold and garnished with capers. We are using veal top round, poaching it in a rosemary, bay leaf and sage infused broth, then slicing it thinly and serving a creamy tuna sauce on top. Although you might not imagine meat and seafood to pair that well, this recipe proves if you use the right kinds, they pair amazingly well, with each flavor complementing the other.

This is a popular appetizer in Italian restaurants, and sure to impress when you serve it as the appetizer at your next dinner party. Although the dish is served cold, it is best made just before serving, and if the veal is still slightly warm that is fine. Some people like to cook chopped carrots with the veal then chop them and add them to the dish as a colorful garnish at the end. You could also add olives or parsley sprigs as a garnish, or else simply add a few capers to keep the garnish simple.

Making this dish is very simple since you just need to poach the veal and then, to make the sauce, combine canned tuna with a few other ingredients. Slice the veal thinly, ladle the sauce over it and scatter a few capers over the top, adding any other garnishes you like. The veal should be juicy and easy to slice through, while the sauce offers fresh flavors and complements the veal very nicely. Follow this appetizer with an Italian chicken or fish entrée perhaps, to stay with the Italian theme.

Italian Veal with Tuna Sauce
Summary: Vitello tonnato is a classic Italian recipe which combines thin slices of veal with a creamy tuna sauce. This dish is served cold or at room temperature.
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 10
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 1 celery stalk, halved crosswise
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 12 whole peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh sage leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 8 cups water
  • 2½ lbs veal top round, tied with kitchen twine
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 oz minced canned tuna
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons minced capers
  • 5 minced anchovy filets
  • Black pepper, to taste
  1. Put the rosemary, onion, celery, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, sage, cloves, and water in a 6-quart pot.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer the veal for 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 135 degrees F.
  4. Put the veal on a plate and cover it with foil.
  5. Transfer the carrots to a cutting board and cut them into ¼-inch pieces.
  6. Discard the broth.
  7. Whisk the egg yolks and mustard together.
  8. Drizzle in a teaspoon of oil and whisk.
  9. Drizzle in 1¼ cups of oil gradually, until the sauce is creamy.
  10. Whisk the rest of the oil with the tuna, lemon juice, capers, and anchovies.
  11. Whisk this mixture into the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Thinly slice the veal across the grain.
  13. Arrange it on a platter and top it with the sauce.
  14. Garnish with a few capers and serve.

Photo Description:

Vitello tonnato is a flavorful Italian appetizer which is traditionally served on Christmas day. It is made with veal poached in an aromatic stock, served in thin slices, topped with a creamy tuna sauce with a caper garnish. The flavors go together wonderfully and beginning an Italian meal with a plate of vitello tonnato is always a good start. Keep the portions quite small because this can be too filling if you serve too much. This dish originated in Piedmont, Italy, and is usually served as an appetizer during the summer in Italy or as a Christmas entrée in Argentina, where it is also popular.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seventeen − three =

Rate this recipe:  

Sign up to our newsletter!

Custom Search

Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi I'm Christine, and I am happy you are visiting. Food is a large part of our family's lives, and we love to try new dishes, especially Italian food which offers so much freshness and flavor, whether you are making a classic Italian dish like lasagna or pizza, or experimenting with new appetizers, entrées or desserts from Italy.

Even if you are brand new to this cuisine, you will be able to find all kinds of tempting recipes here. I have been collecting classic Italian recipes, all conveniently in one place, along with unusual recipes from Italy plus some dishes inspired by Italian cuisine.

When the weather is cold, a baked pasta dish or juicy pork or veal recipe might be ideal. During the summer months, an Italian salad might be your dish of choice. We have vegetarian recipes, Italian soups, and even tips on how to work with Italian ingredients for the best results, whether you are making lasagna, gnocchi or an Italian casserole


Thanks for visiting.


Recipe Categories