A couple of weeks ago at work I was lucky enough to be able to show off some cooking with an immersion circulator. The dish I was able to show off with was vitello Tonnato. This is a traditional veal dish with a tuna and caper sauce. Yes, I am aware that this sounds like a bit of a weird combination but trust me it is such a delicious pairing.
So to do this dish we were using a veal tenderloin that was cleaned of the silver skin and excess fat.
Once it was cleaned up I sealed them with a little olive oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. It always amazes me how you can go with such a simple seasoning when cooking meat like this and get such intense flavor.
When I got it the water bath all set up, I wanted to cook them to an internal temp of 135 F. The veal is around the same size as a pork tenderloin so it doesn’t take to long to get them to the temperature that you are looking for. I cooked them for about an hour and ten minutes.
Once I had them cooked the next step was to just give them a nice quick sear to add a little bit of a crust and some added color on the outside.
Now the thing about tonnato is that it is a cold dish. So after getting it all cooked off you want to toss it in the fridge to cool it down. So this is a nice dish if you are looking for something to impress guests and want to have it all done the day before. The sauce you will want to make sure to have done a day in advance as the flavors get better by sitting overnight.
Speaking of the sauce, this is the part that makes most people a think twice about ordering it. It is a combination of canned tuna, capers, anchovy and mayonnaise. The trick is to take your capers, tuna and anchovy into a food processor with a little bit of white wine vinegar, lemon juice and lemon zest and blend until you get a smooth mixture. Once you get that done you are going to mix that into the mayonnaise. Taste it and season it as needed with salt and pepper. Usually the tuna used is canned with oil and not the stuff canned with water. Place it in the fridge and let it sit overnight for the best results.
Once you are ready to serve it up it is pretty simple. You just want to slice it nice and thin and fan the slices out on a plate. You will want to place the sauce on just the lower half of the veal slices so you have that nice color contrast of your veal. You can garnish the dish with some lemon slices or some capers. Serve this dish to really impress your guests or that special someone. If you are someone that doesn’t like to use veal for ethical reasons you could try replicate this dish using pork tenderloin. I think the flavors would still work well with pork.
Here is the recipe for the sauce:
2 (6-ounce) cans oil-packed solid white tuna, drained
8 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup Mayonnaise