Friday, January 20, 2012

Vitello Tonnato

In France, it has been the Boyer family tradition to serve this Italian dish at Christmas lunch. Before becoming a “Boyer” I lived in Italy, where I found it on many Italian buffets as a summer dish. I always loved it. My 88 year old mother-in-law, Loulou, taught me how to make it this past Christmas so that I could carry on the tradition. I thought I would share it with you.

Recipe for 12

·       A 7- 8lb piece of veal taken from the Top Round of the leg (the part that is usually used for veal cutlets or even thinner slices called Veal Scallopini) (see photo)

·       1 cup of white vinegar (5 or 6 percent alcohol)  
·       5 branches of fresh thyme
·       1 bay leaf
·       1 onion with a clove
·       3 tablespoons of kosher salt
·       15 gains of pepper (10 white and 5 black)
·       3 cloves of garlic (peeled)
·       4 shallots (peeled)

For the sauce:
·       2 small jars of capers
·       1 large jar of cornichons
·       3 large cans of solid white tuna packed in oil
·       2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
·       1 bottle of peanut oil
·       cloves
·       2 egg yolks for mayonnaise

12 shredded raw carrots

The Day Before
Trim fat off of veal and cover with water in a large pot. Add white vinegar, onion (with clove), shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and lower flame. Simmer for two hours. Take off of the flame and leave the meat in the pot to cool overnight.
The Day of 
Morning: Remove meat from the liquid and discard court-bouillon and contents. Pat the veal dry and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Before Serving
With an electric knife cut very thin slices and place them side by side on the serving platter(s).
The Sauce
Make two small bowls of mayonnaise. (Every time I have tried to do this in one large bowl, it comes out too heavy. My mother-in-law agrees. We do not know why, but I strongly suggest keeping them separate and then mixing them together.) In a bowl place one teaspoon of
Dijon mustard. Add the yolk of one egg. Add salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle some peanut oil whisking strenuously until it thickens and becomes the consistency of mayonnaise. Continue drizzling and whisking until you have incorporated half of the peanut oil. Make a second bowl of mayonnaise the same way and then mix them together. . Discard the juice from the jar of cornichons and in a food processor crush all of the cornichons. Reserve them. Discard juice from the capers and crush them in the processor. Remove and set aside. Drain the three cans of tuna and mash with a fork. Mix with the cornichons, capers and the mayonnaise. (Taste and add a bit of vinegar, salt and/or pepper to taste). Spread over all of the slices of veal. Garnish the dish with shredded carrots and serve. 

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