Tag Archives: Egg mayonnaise

YEARNING FOR VITELLO TONNATO

Now and again I feel nostalgic for the “old” food. From my childhood, I often hanker for Vitello Tonnato. It is eaten cold, can be easily prepared beforehand and is a perfect dish as a starter or as a main meal. Left overs make a perfect panino.

There is an earlier post with the recipe for Vitello Tonnato,  but this time I will let the photos guide the cooking.

I used a grirello – the eye round steak. The vegetables are onion, celery, carrots, garlic and herbs. I have tied the herbs (bay, rosemary, thyme) with string so that they can be easily removed at the end of cooking. Usually I like to include sage, but I have none growing at the moment.

I insert slices of garlic into the meat.

Some recipes indicate that the vegetables and meat can be boiled. I do not always repeat what my mother did but like her I lightly brown the vegetables and meat and this does add to the taste.  I used a fish kettle for the cooking.

There is a bottle of white wine and some chicken stock ready to add. I added about 1 cup of wine and 2 cups of stock.

The liquid will add flavour and keep the meat moist. I always evaporate the juices at the end to concentrate the flavours of the sauce. Add seasoning.

Cook the meat to your liking. My mother always cooked it till it was very well done – that is how the older generation cooked meat in those times. My meat is lightly pink, but could have been rarer –  on this occasion I had guests who prefer their meat well done.

Cool the meat and slice thinly.

Now for the sauce: egg mayonnaise, drained tuna (packed in oil), capers, anchovies and some of the vegetables that were used in the cooking of the meat. If the reduced sauce has cooled and jellied, add a little of the sauce.

Blend  the ingredients. before adding the mayonnaise.

Add the mayonnaise and this is the sauce.

Build the layers – slices of meat, topped with the sauce. I made it the day before I served it. The sauce penetrates and softens the meat.

I have had modern versions of this dish in a number of places, both in Australia and Italy and the preference seems to be to place the sauce on top of some slices without covering each layer of meat.

I  like the meat to be smothered with the tuna sauce.

Decorate it as you wish. This time was not my best, I used the left over carrots, topped them with strips of anchovies, stuffed olives cut in half and pink peppercorns. My mother probably would not have approved.

SEE:
VITELLO TONNATO

CHICKEN LAYERED WITH A TUNA AND EGG MAYONNAISE,  A cold Chicken dish

INSALATA RUSSA (Party time – Russian salad)

PESCE IN BIANCO (Plain fish). MAIONESE (Mayonnaise)

POLLO ALLA MESSINESE (A cold chicken dish similar to Vitello Tonnato from Messina)

 

PESCE IN BIANCO (Plain fish). MAIONESE (Mayonnaise)

 

Broth, boiled rice, boiled chicken, steamed white fish are considered to be mangiare in bianco – literally translated, food in white, in other words cooked plain, without colour and hence, without spices and is considered the perfect food for those of us who are feeling unwell.

I can remember my then my teenage son and I being violently ill after eating prawns in a restaurant in Puglia, in southern Italy. We were travelling from Trieste and making our way to Ragusa. In Australia, for this type of ailment the common procedure is to stop eating; he and I did just that.

When we arrived in Ragusa, my aunties, zia Mariannina and zia Niluzza were horrified that we had gone so long without food (six hours) and immediately wanted to feed us. Food seems to be considered the cure for everything by Sicilians. Salvo, my cousin’s son, had just graduated from medical school but was out when we arrived. We were looking forward to his return, thinking he too would agree with our decision to fast as a remedy, but this was not the case – when Salvo arrived, he immediately confirmed the aunties’ recommendation to begin the cure by eating in bianco.

Vindicated, the aunties stood around grinning. Salvo seemed very surprised that in Australia the cure for an upset stomach was to stop eating. Soon after, we were presented with riso in bianco (boiled rice with a little salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil). My son and I continued to eat an array of different foods cooked in bianco for a couple of days and the symptoms abated, either by the passage of time or by the diet.

The other prescribed remedy was cotognata (quince paste) and there was plenty of cotognata in their pantry – homemade, of course.

I bought this fillet of fish in the photo as ‘Rockling’ and I was told that it has come from Tasmania; if I can I prefer to buy local fish, but Tasmania is not far from Melbourne and this fish seems to be more plentiful in their waters.

Because of its mottled pink and orange skin I think that it is Pink Ling. Rock Ling and Pink Ling are closely related and apparently it is often sold in Melbourne under the name ‘Rockling’; the grey skinned variety is more sustainable than the pink variety.

As you can see the fish has thick, firm, white flesh and it is well suited to most cooking methods; I chose to cook it in bianco. Even if you are in perfect health you can enjoy fish in bianco because this method of cooking will enhance the delicate, fresh taste of both these fish. 

If your digestive system is not as good as it should be, Italians (this includes Sicilians) would only dribble a little extra virgin olive oil and a little lemon juice onto the fish, but for those of us who are healthy an excellent accompanying sauce is maionese – egg mayonnaise.

In this recipe the fish is poached just below boiling point and retains its delicate flavour and moisture. It can be eaten hot or cold.

The fish needs to be cooked in a pan with a lid and in a single layer to prevent the liquid from evaporating.

INGREDIENT

white fleshed fish,  estimate 1 portion per person (200-220g each)
onion, 1 cut in half
salt to taste
fresh parsley or a little celery (complete with leaves) for the poaching water.

PROCESSES

Place the onion, parsley (or celery) and a little salt in a pan, which will accommodate the fish.
Position the fish on top of the vegetables; add a little salt and sufficient water to barely cover the fish.
Cover with a lid and cook on a very low temperature (just below boiling if possible) until the fish is cooked to your liking.
Remove the fish from the poaching liquid and coat with a drizzle your finest extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Save the stock for one other time and discard the vegetables.

MAIONESE (Mayonnaise)

Italians make mayonnaise with egg yolks, a little lemon juice and good quality extra virgin olive oil. My mother has never used a food processor to make mayonnaise; the mayonnaise will absorb about 1 cup of oil.
The way my mother makes mayonnaise:
Place 2 egg yolks (removed from the fridge – at room temperature) in a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt.
Use a wooden spoon and always moving in the same clockwise direction, stir the yolks and while stirring drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil slowly into the yolks until creamy. Ensure that the previously added oil has been incorporated completely before adding additional oil. 
Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice once all of the oil has been incorporated.

I use a food processor or an electric wand to make mayonnaise:

Mix 1 egg with a little salt in the blender food processor, or in a clean jar (if using the wand).
Slowly add 1–1 ½ cups of extra virgin olive oil in a thin, steady stream through the feed tube while the blender or processor is running, Before adding additional oil, ensure that the oil, which has previously been added has been incorporated completely.
Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice when the mayonnaise is creamy. If you are not making the traditional Italian version, it is common to add vinegar instead of lemon juice and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
As an alternative, the Spaniards like to add a little saffron (pre-softened in a little warm water).Add this after the mayonnaise is made.
Saffron Mayonnaise:
 IMG_2254

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