Vitello Tomato

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Keep it Simple

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1993

  • About

Fashion in food is a two-edged sword: to be at the cutting edge can be exhilarating but it is all too easy to contrive for the sake of novelty. Some of the more bizarre combinations favour neither the mixture of produce, nor the palate of the restaurant diner being subjected to innovation for its own sake. This combination of meat and fish sounds odd, but the result is proven and has stood the test of time, though Vitello Tomato has rather gone out of favour. All the more reason for resurrecting it.

Here the veal is roasted rather than poached and the sauce is made as one process rather than a two-stage affair where mayonnaise is made first The roast veal could simply be eaten hot with boiled new potatoes and Salsa Verde, as this is the classic Italian way of roasting veal. I remember a particularly delicious example eaten at the Agip service station on the autostrada just south of Florence: a thick slice of roasted rump served absolutely plain with only a wedge of lemon and the juices which ran out of it Not the sort of thing one finds at service stops on a British motorway.

Many people refuse to eat veal because of the way some of it is raised. For those so concerned, turkey breast joints can be cooked, glazed and served with a tuna sauce in just the same way to make Tacchino Tomato, which is also a much cheaper dish. Using butter instead of olive oil, seal a 1 kg/lb turkey joint as described below and then roast in an oven preheated to 190°C/375°F/gas5 with the wine and herbs, for 30-40 minutes until firm. Turn and baste from time to time. If the pan dries out add more wine or a little water. Allow to cool on a plate and reduce the cooking juices in the pan to about a tablespoon of syrupy brown residue. Pour this over the joint to glaze and then slice and proceed as below.