If you’ve been reading our blog, then by now you probably know that Argentine asado is taken very seriously. It is more than just sustenance— it’s a huge part of culture, a way of life. But this also extends to other dishes, such as Vitel Toné, which has particular importance in the Argentine Christmas table. Curious to know more? Here I answer every question, from what is Vitel Toné to how to prepare it yourself.  

The Origins of Vitel Toné

So, where did this very particular dish come from? Well, it’s believed that Vitel Toné has its roots in Italian culinary heritage, particularly in the Piedmont region. Legend has it that Italian immigrants brought the recipe with them to Argentina (as it happened with many other dishes from Argentine cuisine!), where it evolved over time to become a staple of the country’s gastronomy.

Vitel toné is prepared during warm summer days, especially during Christmas, when families and friends gather together for a celebratory meal. What better way to celebrate than with a platter of thinly sliced beef tenderloin smothered in a creamy tuna sauce?

When Is Vitel Toné prepared?

Vitel Toné is a popular dish that you can find throughout Argentina, from the streets of Buenos Aires to the mountainous Patagonia. While it might seem counterintuitive to enjoy a dish like Vitel Toné during the hot summer months, it’s as traditional to eat Vitel Toné during Christmas (despite the heat) as it is to eat turkey during Thanksgiving.

In fact, many people families prefer not to prepare Argentine asado outdoors during the hottest months of the year. In these cases, air-conditioned homes provide a comfortable environment for enjoying dishes like Vitel Toné.

While the dish is very popular in Argentina, it’s not widely available in restaurants, especially out of the holiday season. If you wish to have a taste of Vitel Toné, then you’ll need to prepare it yourself. And I’d like to show you how. 

Prepare Your Own Vitel Toné Step by Step

The first step to prepare Vitel Toné is selecting the finest ingredients So, roll up your sleeves, sharpen your knives, and get ready to prepare a dish that is as delicious as it’s exotic. 

vitel tone

Ingredients

1 beef tenderloin (about 2 pounds)

2 cans of tuna in oil, drained

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup capers, drained

4 anchovy fillets

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Hard-boiled eggs and additional capers for garnish

Cook the Meat

  1. Get started by seasoning the beef tenderloin with salt and pepper, ensuring it’s evenly coated. 
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and sear the beef tenderloin on both sides until browned. This should take about 2-3 minutes per side. Then, lower the heat and cook until medium rare, for an extra 20 minutes. 

Prepare the Sauce

The star of this show is undoubtedly the sauce, which is as delicious as it’s easy to prepare. You’ll need a processor or blender to meld together the drained tuna, mayonnaise, anchovy fillets, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. 

Blend the ingredients until they are well combined and the texture is smooth. This process usually takes around 1 to 2 minutes, but the exact time may vary depending on the power of your appliance and your desired consistency. Aim for a creamy texture with no large chunks remaining!

Assemble the Vitel Toné

Assembling your Vitel Toné is a piece of cake. First, pour the tuna sauce over the sliced beef tenderloin, ensuring it’s evenly coated. Then, garnish the dish with additional capers and sliced hard-boiled eggs for a traditional touch.

Chill and Serve

The best (and hardest) part is coming: cover the assembled Vitel Toné with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until well chilled. Accompanied it with crusty bread or a simple salad. ¡Buen provecho!

Insider Tips to Prepare Vitel Toné

The traditional Vitel Toné recipe includes many ingredients, but feel free to customize it to suit your preferences. For example, if you prefer to skip the tuna, you can substitute it with cooked chicken breast or even silken tofu for a vegetarian version. 

Try Different Cuts of Meat

While beef tenderloin is the classic choice for Vitel Toné, you can certainly experiment with other cuts of meat, such as flank steak. Just be sure to choose a cut without a lot of fat and to adjust cooking times and temperatures accordingly based on the cut you choose.

Marinate the Meat

For extra flavor, consider marinating the beef tenderloin before cooking. A simple marinade (such as my signature salmuera) can infuse the meat with flavor and help to tenderize it. Marinate the meat for at least a few hours, or preferably overnight, before cooking.

Slice the Meat Thinly

To ensure that each bite of Vitel Toné is tender, be sure to slice the cooked beef tenderloin thinly against the grain. You’ll thank me later! These thin slices will ensure each bite is easy to chew and enjoy.

Next time you’re in the mood for Argentine food, consider making a batch of Vitel Toné and discover new, exotic flavors!

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