Veal Scallops with Lemon and Capers

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, Edited by Ruth Reichl

This is a family staple.  It involves almost no prep and cooks in no time.  It is totally elegant in appearance and taste.  My kids actually jump up and down when they find out this is for dinner.  

The sauce is an illustration of a “mounted” sauce.  Though this sounds rather technical- and even a bit suggestive- it just means that the substance of the sauce is created just by adding butter.  That’s all there is to it.  There’s some slight thickening that happens from the flour left in the pan (a roux effect) but the resulting sauce is meant to be thin, with the butter giving it some cling to the food.

I like to serve this with orzo (tiny rice shaped pastas), which sop up some of this wonderful sauce.  Better yet, serve it with orzo with fresh artichoke hearts.  The artichoke hearts go so beautifully with the lemon and caper flavors.  Just toss the hearts into the boiling water with the orzo.  they’ll cook in about the same time.

Chicken scaloppini can be used instead of the veal, though the result isn’t quite as elegant.  If you can’t find them in a store, take a chicken breast, remove the tenderloin (that long little flap along the edge), place the breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound the breast (Don’t smack the hell out of it or you’ll get something resembling ground chicken.  Just pound lightly for a few minutes) to an even ¼ to 1/8-inch thickness.

1 ½ pounds veal cutlets (also called scaloppini), preferably 1/8 inch thickness Try to find “pink” veal- a naturally raised veal.  The Strauss Farms brand is carried by Whole Foods.
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup chicken broth
6 lemon slices,  1/8-inch thick
2 teaspoons capers, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced

Prepare and Cook the Meat

  1. If necessary, pound the meat between two sheets of plastic wrap to a thickness of 1/8-inch.
  2. Pat veal dry and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and ½ tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides.  Meanwhile, quickly dredge 2 or 3 cutlets in flour (only as many as you can cook at once), shaking off excess.
  4. Add veal to skillet without crowding.  Cook for 30 to 45 seconds.  Turn veal over and cook until just cooked through (meat will still be slightly pink inside), about another 15 seconds.  Remove from heat and wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Pour off fat from skillet and cook remaining cutlets in two or three more batches using reserved oil and butter.

Prepare Sauce

  1. Add wine, stock and any meat juices accumulated in the foil to skillet and deglaze by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, for 1 minute.  Continue to boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, lemon slices, capers, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

When you add the liquid, you deglaze the fond from the pan bottom. At first it will just look like ugly brown chunks floating in your pan. However, as the liquid reduces, the fond will dissipate into the sauce adding lots of flavor and some body.

Serves 4

Off Script…

Try this with fish fillets, such as red snapper.  It’s fantastic this way as well.

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