This is a lovely dish even if it looks reminiscent of something you may have deposited in a back street after a big night on the town. Besides, there are plenty of things in life that look awful but taste great and I urge you to give this a go – it really is beautiful, and it is (at least in its original form) an Italian classic.
Vitello Tonnato (DATW style)
The classic recipe requires you to used veal poached in a herby broth as the basis for this dish, but I used seared beef carpaccio instead which I think works really well.
To make the sauce, you need to put the following in a blender and give it a good whizz – a tin of really good tuna in oil and a tin of anchovies in oil (after having drained the oil), two hard boiled egg yolks, a tablespoon of capers, the juice of a lemon and a good glug of good olive oil. Once blended, season with black pepper and salt (carefully – you don’t need much salt).
For the beef, use my carpaccio recipe – take a piece of really good beef fillet and roll it in a dry rub of herbs and spices that you’ve pounded with a pestle and mortar. My favourites are finely chopped thyme and rosemary with cumin and corainder seeds and lots of maldon sea salt and black pepper (Note – whenever I refer to salt in here, just assume it’s maldon sea salt…). Then sear the beef all over in a very hot frying pan with a little oil and leave it rest for ten minutes. If there are any lovely juices at this point, add them to the sauce.
Now take the beef and slice it thinly onto a plate, covering the surface (and again adding any juices to the sauce). Spoon over the tuna sauce and sprinkle over a little chopped parsley and capers. As always, serve with really good bread and a bottle of crisp white wine or a bottle of Bandol rose if the sun is shining…