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Recipe Category: Main Courses

Italian Veal with Tuna and Caper Sauce (Vitello Tonnato)

Tender poached veal, thinly sliced and served cold with a creamy tuna and caper sauce is an Italian classic that is the perfect dish for a Summer lunch!

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours
  • 900g-1kg piece veal girello (nut of veal)
  • 1 tablespoon pure olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 litre water
  • 1/2 lemon
  • continental parsley and cornichons, for garnish
  • 185g can tuna in oil, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 4 anchovies
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup pure olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Season veal, heat oil in a large pot, brown veal on all sides and remove. Add vegetables, wine, water, lemon and a few sprigs of parsley and bring to the boil. Return veal to pot, cover and turn off the heat. Allow to stand without disturbing for 1 1/2 hours until it cools at which time the meat should be poached but still pink. Note that some of the cooking liquid may be used in the making of the sauce. The veal may be refrigerated at this stage if being made in advance.


Combine tuna in oil, capers, anchovies and yolks in a blender and blend to a paste. Gradually add 1/4 cup olive oil while blending until smooth. Blend in lemon juice. Add a little of the cooled cooking liquid from the veal to adjust to desired consistency. Use as required, keeping refrigerated if being made in advance.


Thinly slice the veal. Spread serving plates with Tuna & Caper Sauce and arrange veal slices on top. Drizzle with more sauce and serve garnished with extra capers, parsley, cornichons and freshly ground black pepper.


If you want to double the recipe, use two pieces of girello and double the sauce quantity but there is no need to double the ingredients for the poaching liquid.

Recipe Type: Entertaining, Italian, Roast

Author: Naomi Crisante
Date Created: 14/10/2018