Dear People of the Internet,
Have you ever been utterly obsessed by a recipe? So much so that even when it confounds you time and time again, you have to keep trying to cook it to perfection? Just as Nic Silver is obsessed by Tanis, so have I been consumed by a search for a, no THE, perfect Vitello Tonnato. My obsession started during the 2015 (2014?) season of My Kitchen Rules when Ash and Camilla made it. Veal with Tuna Mayonnaise? Really girls? Really? But no. Despite my initial misgivings, the judges loved it! And it’s kind of kooky and very retro. Which are pretty much my criteria for food obsession.
They say the course of true love never runs smooth and so it was with my adventures with Vitello Tonnato.
Vitello Tonnato – The Bad
The first Vitello Tonnato I made came from, yep, you guessed it, The A-Z of Cooking, 1977. From the chapter entitled N is for Night Before to be precise. It looked good enough but oh…..that veal. That veal was so stringy and fatty and revolting it was damn near inedible!
This was a huge fail on the veal but props to the A-Z of Cooking, the tonnato was good!
Vitello Tonnato – The Ugly
Next up, I went super modern. This version of Vitello Tonnato came from a Tasty Reads Book club choice from earlier in the year which espoused the virtues of “clean” living. The author has apparently lost quite a bit of weight eating this food and I am not surprised. Pretty much everything I have made from it has been singularly awful.
The vitello tonnato was no exception.
The surprise was that the Tonnato was made from tofu. And I’m not going to go on a tofu bashing rant because, as with everything, tofu has it’s place – miso soup, vegan curries? Awesome, brilliant, the more the better! It just does not belong in Vitello Tonnato! I made this to take to a Tasty Reads Cookbook Club meeting.
Here is what I took:
What? I hear you say. That looks like the weirdest Vitello Tonnato in the world. It looks more like almond butter grilled prawns. And you ‘d be right. If they gave gold medals for things that tasted flipping disgusting and smelled like sick, that Tofu Tonnato would win hands down. And the roast veal was again dry and fatty. The veal went to the dogs, the tonnato went in the bin and I went down to the supermarket to buy the prawns for the dish you see above. Incidentally, the prawns were one of the handful of decent recipes I have cooked from this book!
Vitello Tonnato – The Good
Normally, after two fails at a dish I would give it up as bad job. But obsession is obsession and I still not done with Vitello Tonnato. And so, I turned back to the initial inspiration for making this dish – The MKR website.
And you know what? The third time was a charm! This Vitello Tonnato was everything the other’s weren’t. The veal was lovely and tender, the tonnato was tasty and the accoutrements – pickles, fried capers and micro herbs were perfection!
It was also the gift that kept on giving – it made a lovely dinner, and the next day, wrapped in lettuce leaves it made a super tasty lunch!
Here is a link to the MKR recipe for Vitello Tonnato
The only problem with the MKR Vitello Tonnato is that you poach the veal in a gorgeous stock made with herbs and vegetables and white wine and stock. And then presumably throw it out. Not on my watch! I kept it in the fridge over night and the following evening I roasted up some tomatoes, added this to the stock mix and voila, I had a super quick, easy and delicious tomato soup! Add some grilled cheese and it made the perfect work lunch!
So tell me. Have you ever been obsessed by a recipe? And how many times do you try something before giving up on it?
And have a super week! Related articles