Vitello tonnato

  • serves 6 as a starter
  • Easy

Vitello tonnato is a northern Italian classic mistrusted by those encountering it for the first time (sorry, veal with tuna mayonnaise?), but adored by legions of Italophiles. This is our version and once you try it, you'll love it too.



  • celery 1 stick, roughly sliced
  • carrot 1, roughly sliced
  • bay leaf 1
  • thyme 2 sprigs
  • onion 1, peeled and quartered
  • veal joint 700g (ask for girello or eye fillet)
  • egg yolks 2
  • lemon 1, juiced
  • Dijon mustard 1 tsp
  • tinned tuna in oil 100g (undrained weight), the best quality you can find
  • anchovies 2
  • capers 1 tbsp, rinsed and drained
  • olive oil 100ml
  • rocket to serve


  • Step 1

    Put the celery, carrot, herbs and onion in a pan that is just big enough to fit the veal. Add 1.2 litres of water, bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes. Add the veal, checking that it is just covered by the water. Bring back to the boil then turn off the heat, cover and leave to cool for three hours. The internal temperature should be 55C or above. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour, until firm enough to carve easily. 

  • Step 2

    To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, half the lemon juice and mustard in a blender. Switch on, and with the motor running, pour the oil in a thin stream. When all the oil is absorbed, add the anchovies, capers and tuna, and blend until combined. Season to taste with salt and the remaining lemon juice. Slice the veal as thinly as you can, and serve with the mayonnaise drizzled on top and a few rocket leaves to decorate.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 338
  • Carbs 3.4g
  • Protein 31.4g
  • Fat 21.9g
  • Salt 0.5g
  • Saturates 3.8g
  • Fibre 1.1g