This one was a little strange for me, given the fact that I am ethically opposed to veal, and haven’t eaten it since God knows when. I figured I’d let it go this time, just to see how the recipe came out. Still, I must admit, I didn’t enjoy preparing it given my opposition to veal production.
In the end, I wound up making a number of errors in this mission, each of which I briefly explain below. I ended up with a good, but not great, meal. That’s okay – there are always things to learn, so I don’t mind screw ups now and again. I have a solid idea now how to fix the problems I encountered next time — with chicken the next time around. I also now have a great new way to make a non-red sauce for pasta!
I got the recipe for this dish from Lidia’s Cooking from the Heart of Italy. I rarely find any recipes in her books that I don’t really like, so I figured I’d give this one a go, especially since my mother is visiting and I know she likes veal. The recipe has a few steps, pretty simple, though easy to mess up.
1. Flour and fry the scallops
2. Make the sauce
3. Bake the scallops in the sauce
Step 1: Flour and fry the scallops
Veal scallopine is very, very thinly spiced from the butcher and the meat is very tender. Since veal has little to no muscle, it falls apart easily. So you have the handle the scallopine extremely carefully or you’ll crumble them. After years of not eating veal, this took a little getting used to. You can abuse a chicken cutlet – it won’t fall apart in your hands.
Lidia has you salt the scallopine and then drudge them in flour, and then in egg. Once that’s done, you fry them in oil and butter. I made my first mistake with the salt – I went a little over what the recipe required, and it showed up in the taste afterward. You don’t want your scallopine too salty. Especially with this meal, which uses a sauce that has 5 oz of prosciutto in it. It’s overkill. In fact, when I redo this one with chicken, I’m pretty sure I’ll just pass on the salting stage. I may add a touch of sugar to the egg mix, but that’s it.
The second mistake I made was in the frying. The mistake I made wasn’t due to Lidia’s errors in the recipe, it was my bad. The problem — I over fried the scallopine — is due to an issue I tend to have when I fry meat and then subsequently bake it. For some reason, I’m never sure that the meat is done in the pan. Lidia said to fry for a minute each side, I went for probably two minutes, and then a minute on the reverse side. I ended up over doing the veal, which made it lose it’s tenderness. Not a major issue, but if you are going to go through the trouble to make a meal like this, you should get this part right. Next time: trust the recipe, even if the meat doesn’t look cooked, remember it will be baked for 20 minutes.
Here’s how it looked out of the pan and placed in the baking pan.
Clearly over fried. Live and learn.
Step Two: Sauce
I’m always looking for a new sauce to use for meats. This one is good. It’s simple to make: it requires white wine, dry marsala, broth, prosciutto, and butter. It’s easy to make: you just saute the prosciutto in the butter and then add the two wines, and then once the wine reduces by half, you add the broth. Good stuff. I actually made more of this than the recipe called for, because I wanted to use it for a spaghetti batch I was making for the side of the meal.
I’ve got to say – the sauce is really good, but it’s extra good on pasta. I can see making this sauce stand alone just for a bowl of spaghetti. In fact, I was thinking you might even fry the spaghetti in a skillet with the sauce, adding broccoli and some small cut up cherry tomatoes. I also tossed the pasta with a half a cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Not bad!
Step Three: Baking
The last step involves adding thinly sliced Parmigiano-Reggiano to the scallopine, pouring the sauce over the meat, and then baking for 20 minutes. Here’s the pan going in:
Again, easy enough to do. However, in doing this one again, I think I’ll pass on the Parmigiano-Reggiano for the cheese topping. I’m not sure why, but I just thought it didn’t go with this meal. Parmigiano-Reggiano has a particular taste that just didn’t mesh with this particular recipe. I think next time I would just go with using some mozzerella.
All in all, a good meal, but next time I make it, it will require some adjustments!
A last picture:
The over frying is obvious in this shot. By the way, that’s fried garlic broccoli and some homemade Italian bread on the side. All in all, not a bad meal. It could just be better.