Thursday, March 22, 2012

Veal Saltimbocca

Veal is easily one of our favorite things to eat, but, living where we do in the PNW, veal is limited to occasional restaurants that are authentically Italian enough to serve it. Which means, not many at all. So imagine my delight when I came across some reasonably priced veal scallopini cutlets at the store - I tell you, tears were a part of it. So I decided to make my favorite of all veal dishes - the saltimbocca.

The first key to correctly preparing veal scallopini is to pound it out...yup, I'm talking about using a meat tenderizer and layering wax paper both under and atop the cuts of veal and then pounding the hell out of it. This not only reduces and toughness but thins the meat out, so beware of overcooking it. Next you want to take the pounded veal and dredge it in egg (two whisked in a bowl is good) and then through flour. I use a mixture of whole wheat flour and a little almond meal, but regular flour is obviously fine. Then you want to lightly salt and pepper the veal and get ready to build the dream.

The dream (which is not nearly as complicated as the movie Inception, so relax) involves taking two slices of the veal (or if there's a large piece, just folding it in half) and layering fresh sage leaves with slices of prosciutto inside. Typically each piece of veal gets a few sage leaves and at least one slice of veal...but I am not hear to restrict your gluttony. To fasten the 'packet' of veal together, you want to secure the open ends with a toothpick. 

I cooked the veal in a very hot, deep sauce pan with enough olive oil and butter to coat the bottom. You want to make sure the veal is touching the pan and that none of the pieces are piled up. Each side of the veal should cook for about 2-3 minutes (it will get slightly browned, as shown in the photo above) and that's it! Anymore and you will kill the dream. The last step varies with every chef, but's here how I do it: when the veal is almost done (remember, this is a quick process, so have everything nearby at the ready before you start!!!!) I add some dry white wine (think less than a 1/4 cup, so really a few healthy splashes) to the pan and turn the heat down. You want the meat to get a taste of the wine, but not to be drunk. Let that simmer for just a minute and serve with lemon wedges. 

I paired the veal with a straight risotto (see:, haricot verts sautéed with lemon/garlic/pink himalayan salt, and a heady Merlot we picked up in northern California. 

- Melissa 

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