We’ve reached back to bring some of our favorite Mad Men era classics into the present day.
We update a rich Wagyu carpaccio with more acidity and easy garnishes that will delight your diners.
And Vitello Tonnato is a classic for a reason – this swanky (and these days, unexpected) take on surf and turf manages to seem both restrained and totally indulgent, elegant but unfussy.
The most delicious part: Serving cold lunch courses lets you stay cool and collected, too, since most of the prep can be done well ahead. Pulling it off will look like effortless glamour.
#1 Vitello Tonnato
#2 Wagyu Carpaccio with Pickled Cucumber & Shallots, double recipe
#3 Saffron Martinis
Prepare the day before:
- Prepare the meat part of the Wagyu carpaccio by par-freezing and thinly slicing the tenderloin. To prep individual servings ahead of time, press plastic wrap down on one of the plates you’ll use, arrange the thin slices of meat in a circle, as in the photo. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap, and then remove both from the plate. Repeat for all eight servings, and stack these pre-plated portions on a large plate in the fridge, ready for tomorrow.
- Cook the veal, and transfer it into the fridge to chill overnight.
- Make the tonnato sauce and store it in the fridge – it will taste even better tomorrow.
- Place your plates for both courses into the fridge to cool overnight.
- Make the saffron simple syrup, by simmering ½ cup water, 1 cup sugar, and ¼ tsp of saffron for an hour over low heat. Store in the fridge overnight.
Before the party starts:
- Slice the veal thinly, and return to the fridge.
- Prepare the salad you’ll serve on the vitello tonnato, toss with a squeeze of lemon to avoid discoloration, and keep it in the fridge.
- Finely dice the cucumber and shallot for the carpaccio, and pickle half of them.
- Vodka martinis can be made in advance and kept in the freezer to stay icy cold:
– For 8 martinis, combine 2.5 cups (20oz) vodka, ½ cup (4oz) Lillet, and ¼ cup (2oz) saffron simple syrup
– For 16 martinis: combine 5 cups (40oz) vodka, 1 cup (8oz) Lillet, and ½ cup (4oz) saffron simple syrup
- For full-strength martinis, simply pour and garnish with a lemon twist. If these are a bit strong, though, stir the martini mix over ice, and strain it into martini glasses.
- Each serving of carpaccio will be pressed between two sheets of plastic wrap. Lay them flat and carefully remove the top layer of plastic. Slip the remaining piece of plastic onto your hand, meat side up, and with your other hand lower its serving plate down to it, pressing the meat up to the plate, and then flipping both over. Set the plate down and carefully peel off the remaining plastic wrap. Repeat for each, make adjustments as necessary, finish the garnishing, and serve.
- Since all the components are finished, plating the veal tonnato will be a snap.
40 Small Bamboo Skewers
Meats & Dairy:
2.5 lb Veal Striploin
1 lb Wagyu Tenderloin
White or Purple Pepper Flowers
1 bunch Radishes
1 small Fennel bulb with fronds
1 bunch Parsley
Celery Leaves (optional)
Micro Radish Greens (optional)
1 English Cucumber
Garlic, 2 cloves
1 jar Capers
Saffron threads (¼ tsp)
Lemongrass or Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
6oz can St Jude (or other high quality) Oil Packed Tuna
Colatura Italian Fish Sauce (2 tbsp)
Fennel Seeds (1 tsp)
White Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Whole Black Peppercorns