x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

M cooks: Vitello tonnato

A dish fit for a film festival - and the stars, if they know what's good for them

Vitello tonnato is the perfect dish for any film-maker or star.
Vitello tonnato is the perfect dish for any film-maker or star.

Some of my best friends are film stars. Not really, but I thought that might at least get you reading. I have met a few stars, obviously, though I rarely know who they are. I'm sure they speak very highly of me too. One of my best friends, though, is a film director, Guy Ritchie, another dyslexic (we seem to gravitate towards each other).

But really, I don't go in for all that glamorous stuff. Is it truly that glamorous, anyway? I have been filmed quite a lot, either for TV shows or for advertisements. There's a lot of waiting around, and frankly, there are many other things I'd rather be doing, like fishing, or writing these columns that I know you look forward to every week.

I wanted to pick a suitably glamorous dish for this special Film Issue of M magazine, one that all the visiting stars and would-be stars can relate to, a meal fit for a media mogul to share with a starlet. It is a relatively simple dish to make, but the inclusion of capers and truffle oil glam it up no end. In fact, truffle oil is one of those little gems you ought to have in your kitchen for when you need to spice up your life. If you're stuck for a meal you can just cook some pasta (al dente, of course), then sprinkle some truffle oil and Parmesan on top and hey presto you've got a delicious dinner. Add a sprinkling of basil for some colour. You can also drizzle it on salad or on vegetables, and it's delicious on mashed potato.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, as well as the Film Issue and indeed the film festival. Maybe you'll even get your own red-carpet moment. Friends of mine who live in Abu Dhabi tell me it is such a small community that they're often invited to things they would never get to go to back home. And of course the stars flock there, in part because they're paid to, and also they like nothing better than topping up their perma-tans. One friend tells me Hugh Grant is always hanging around, be it at the Formula 1 or the Laureus Awards. And she met Clive Owen as well last year, whoever he is.

Have a lovely time on the red carpet, enjoy the veal recipe and say hi to Guy if you see him.


Make it yourself

Vitello tonnato


600g veal sirloin

2 tbsp olive oil

8 tsp salt

4 tsp white pepper

400g mayonnaise

200g tuna in tin

40g capers

16ml lemon juice (about one big lemon)

200g celery sticks made into crisps

8 hard-boiled quail eggs, peeled and halved

8g black truffles in brine (optional)

40ml truffle oil


1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Tie the veal with kitchen thread, starting from one side and making loops around the meat to keep the shape round.

3. Sear in a large pan with olive oil on all sides.

4. Season with salt and pepper and cook in the preheated oven for 18 minutes to reach a cooking temperature of medium. Remove and set aside.

5. In a blender, mix the mayonnaise with the tuna, 30g of the capers and the lemon juice. Season to taste.

6. To make celery crisps, peel the celery sticks with a potato peeler, cut them into thin strips and place in ice-cold water in order to get them curved and crispy.

7. Slice the veal 1mm thick and set on a flat serving plate.

8. Cover with the tuna sauce and decorate with the celery crisps, the halved quail eggs, the remaining capers and the truffle slices if using.

9. Drizzle with truffle oil and season with black pepper and sea salt if desired.


Serves 8

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