Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

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In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic

This week I have chosen to cover vitello tonnato – an Italian dish which originated in the Piedmont region. Traditionally the dish is served as a summertime main course and served cold or at room temperature. Vitello tonnato is a thinly sliced veal dish served with a flavored tuna aioli.

Traditional vitello tonnato recipe

2 lb​Boneless veal eye round
1 whole​Onion, large dice
2 whole​Bay leaves
2 whole​Celery sticks, large dice
1 whole​Carrot, peeled, large dice
1 tsp​Black peppercorns
5 oz​White wine
2​Large egg yolks
1 clove​Garlic
10 oz​Cooking oil
1 tbsp​White wine vinegar
3 oz​Canned tuna
2 ​Anchovy fillets
1 tbsp​Capers
1 tbsp​Lemon juice
to taste​Sea salt, freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place onion, celery, carrot, white wine, bay leaves and peppercorns into a roasting pan. Place veal into pan on top of ingredients. Roast in preheated oven for roughly 1 hour. While veal is in the oven, place the egg yolks, garlic clove and white wine vinegar into a food processor. Buzz to break up garlic and emulsify ingredients. Slowly drizzle the cooking oil into the machine until all oil has been incorporated. Once the aioli has formed, add your tuna, capers and lemon juice. Buzz until smooth. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Set aside. Pull veal from oven. Discard the vegetables. Set veal and juices to cool separately in the fridge. Once veal and juice is cooled, thinly slice the veal and spread out on a plate. Place aioli back into the processor and slowly blend in veal juices to taste, making sure not to add too much, or the sauce will break. Once some of the juices are incorporated, place sauce over veal and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Jonathan’s vitello tonnato recipe

2 lb​Boneless veal eye round
1 bulb​Fennel, large dice
2 whole​Bay leaves
2 whole​Celery sticks, large dice
1 whole​Onion, peeled, large dice
1 tsp​Black peppercorns
5 oz​Vermouth
2​Large egg yolks
1 clove​Garlic
7 oz​Cooking oil
2 oz​Extra virgin olive oil
1 oz​Portuguese olive oil
1 tbsp​Tarragon vinegar
3 oz​Canned tuna
2​Anchovy fillets
1 tbsp​Capers
1 tbsp​Lemon juice
to taste​Sea salt, freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place fennel, celery, onion, vermouth, bay leaves and peppercorns into a roasting pan. Place veal into pan on top of ingredients. Roast in preheated oven for roughly 1 hour. While veal is in the oven, place the egg yolks, garlic clove and tarragon vinegar into a food processor. Buzz to break up garlic and emulsify ingredients. Slowly drizzle cooking, extra virgin and Portuguese olive oil into the machine until all oil has been incorporated. Once the aioli has formed, add your tuna, capers and lemon juice. Buzz until smooth. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Set aside. Pull veal from oven. Discard the vegetables. Set veal and juices to cool separately in the fridge. Once veal and juice is cooled, thinly slice the veal and spread out on a plate. Place aioli back into the processor and slowly blend in veal juices to taste, making sure not to add too much, or the sauce will break. Once some of the juices are incorporated, place sauce over veal and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together and that the act of cooking is about caring and as long as your heart is in the dish you prepare, the people you are cooking for will appreciate it (and you).

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it is my pleasure to give you a peek into the mind of a chef. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – which focuses on “farm to table” style of cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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