Vitello tonnato di Marta Grassi
Vitello tonnato is a classic piedmontese dish, but it is still being reinterpreted. Like this elegant version invented by Marta Grassi from restaurant Tantris in Novara.
Restaurant Tantris on the outskirts of the Piedmont town Novara is a treat. The chef Marta Grassi has an eminent ability to combine simplicity and sophistication in taste and in the visual presentation of the dish, and you get up from the table after dinner feeling happy and utterly spoiled.
Marta Grassi’s version of vitello tonnato is inspired by an urban landscape with high buildings, bright colours and tiny green fields. The buildings are slices of rosa veal wrapped around tuna sauce with green sprouts on top. We thought the green was a specially imported type of cress, but Marta Grassi said it was mixed salad sprouts she herself grew in the back garden. The plate was decorated with bright red, yellow and orange dots and a line of light brown sauce. It tasted delicious, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it was or how to reproduce a dressing in those colours.
In other words, my version of this modernized antipasto is a lot simpler than the original. But it is still good, and it does not belittle the pleasure of a real visit to the kitchen of Marta Grassi at Tantris in Novara.
For the meat
500 g veal roast
100 ml white wine
Fresh parsley and sage
Tiny sprouts of radicchio, green salad or beets
For the tuna sauce
2 egg yolks
50 ml olive oil
1 can of tuna in olive oil
1 tbsp capers
Lemon juice and a little broth from the veal
Tie the roast up with kitchen string to make it round.
Bring salted water to the boil with peeled and sliced carrot and onion, white wine and herbs.
The cooking time depends on the shape, size and quality of the meat, but you should go for a core temperature of 52°C / 125 °F.
Turn off the heat, remove the meat from the broth and let it rest for 20 minutes, before it enters the fridge.
Blend egg yolks with drops of olive oil to a thick mayonnaise
Add capers, anchovies and lemon juice
Blend in the canned tuna adding a little broth if the sauce gets too thick.
Cut the cold meat into thin slices and fold each slice around a spoonful of tuna sauce with a few sprouts on top.
Serve vitello tonnato di Marta Grassi as an antipasti with grissini or bread.
Please post a comment if you figure out how to make Marta Grassi’s coloured dressingsJ
We were invited to Ristorante Tantris by Biteg – Borsa internazionale del turismo enogastronomico