Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Veal Scaloppine

Like I said, I'm behind with the blog, as well as with the cookbook. Julie Powell was far more disciplined that I was, and I don't think she left out ingredients wholesale the way I do. In fact, I remember her tossing dishes out if they didn't work and trying again. I don't do that, but then, I'm not doing French cooking with fancy sauces. We ate this dish on May 25, and it is very good. I fear it is a winter dish, since it calls for chestnuts, or in a pinch, substitute filberts, which those of us in the east know as hazelnuts. (Guess what got left out?) But it's still good in spring.
Veal scaloppine actually has unfortunate associations for me. My father, the farmer, was an exacting restaurant patron. He didn't like to wait, and he made his feelings on the matter known. He didn't yell exactly, but he could be what used to be known as shirty. A certain frostiness would creep into his voice, and we, his children, would shrink down in our seats and wish devoutly that we could disappear. Garrison Keilor once did a piece on his show, The Prairie Home Companion, about the time his family decided to have dinner in a restaurant before going to evening church.
"Would you like a drink?" the hostess inquired brightly.
Keilor Senior drew himself up, looked at his wife and announced firmly that he didn't think this was their kind of place. As the family walked out the door, Garrison said, "But no one could see me, because there was just an empty parka walking out the door."
My siblings and I longed for the empty parka effect when Daddy started looking at his watch.
Getting back to veal scaloppine, one spring vacation, my long suffering parents took me skiing in Vermont. In the 50s and 60s, parents did not put themselves out much for their children, after making sure they got a decent education. However, my parents did sacrifice their time and energy, and their money, to take me skiing. This was a sacrifice because I was the only person in the family who actually skied. My father did it a little, at Catamount and Butternut Basin, the little areas near our house, but I don't remember him skiing in Vermont. Having gone down the headwall at Tuckerman's Ravine in his youth, he probably figured that was enough.
Anyhow, one evening we went out to dinner at a restaurant in an old colonial farmhouse, and my father ordered the ill-fated veal scaloppini. It got later and later, and my father got more and more annoyed. When it finally came, he decided that the serving was skimpy and commented on that. The restaurant staff, who probably owned the place, were incensed. The only other guests in the place praised the food fulsomely, trying to make us feel like the boors that I'm sure we came across as. He ended up leaving a two dollar tip. All in all, it was a huge disaster and I would have given anything for an empty parka.
But this is a very good dish, and doesn't need to conjure up bad associations, since you are cooking it in your own kitchen.
This is one of these "day before" recipes. Julia Child would scold me firmly for being a lazy cook, and I am, but it turned out fine doing it all in one evening.

Veal Scaloppini

1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons paprika
2 taspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds veal round, pounded thin and cut into serving pieces
1/2 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 1/4 cups beef broth
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup Marsala wine (I used red.)
1 pound chestnuts, scored with cross on flat side and broiled very slowly thirty minutes, then peeled, or one half pound shelled and peeled filberts (hazelnuts.)
12 halves plump dried apricots, chopped
1 pound noodles cooked, drained and tossed with croutons

  1. Day before, combine the flour, paprika salt and pepper. Toss the veal pieces in the flour mixture. Reserve any remaining mixture.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet containing the garlic. Brown the veal pieces on all sides in the butter. Transfer meat to a heavy casserole. Discard the garlic. (I kept it.)
  3. Sprinkle the skillet with any remaining flour mixture. Cook, stirring tow minutes. Gradually stir in the broth, sour cream, basil, rosemary, lemon juice and Marsala.
  4. Halve the chestnuts and add them or the filberts to the veal. Stir in half the apricots and pour the sauce over all.
  5. Sprinkle with the raining apricots, cover and let stand refringerated overnight
  6. Next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Bake the covered veal casserole 45 minutes. Serve with the noodles.

Makes five or six servings.

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