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mercoledì 20 luglio 2011

Mid-July... that Vitello Tonnato time!

As the heat and humidity hit a summer high in the Berkshires yesterday afternoon... the last thing I wanted to do was slave over a hot kitchen stove.  But the reward being a slightly chilled Vitello Tonnato dinner forced me into the exact situation.  I made Vitello Tonnato for the first time last year at almost the same point in July.  I strictly followed one recipe (which I normally never do) and found out that it called for way to much vinegar and I surely ruined the fucking tonnato sauce!  Over the years of cooking for myself and others, I have discovered that I am more of a mad scientist in the kitchen than anything else.  I usually cannot follow just one single recipe and after I produce a dish its hard to explain and provide any useful recipe for it.  I never measure anything and I like to get into a zone and feel out what the dish needs in the moment.  I  have tons of respect for people like Eleonora (of the blog aglio, olio e peperoncino) who can provide a highly detailed recipe at any given moment.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun this time winging it (using multiple recipes while omitting the vinegar) and it came out pleasant and better than I had hoped. Some key steps are a quality roast, good quality tuna in olive oil (not the water shit!), cooking down white wine with whole cloves to later add into the sauce and just as important adding the juice from the cooked roast into the tuna sauce to create a beautiful consistency and depth of flavor.

Vitello Tonnato or Vitel Tonnè in the piemontese dialect is a classic dish or antipasto of Piedmont, particularly of Alba and with a nice Dolcetto it becomes a heavenly pairing.  I opened a bottle of Oddero Dolcetto d'Alba 2009 which I have been drinking at a steady pace lately.

above, the ''girello'' veal roast with onion, carrot, rosemary, bay leaves and whole cloves about to go into the oven.

above, a recipe for Vitello Tonnato from the cookbook ''Regional Foods of Northern Italy'' written by Marlena de Blasi.

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