Veal Marsala

Veal Marsala is one of the standbys of the basic Italian menu. It’s easy enough to make (which is one reason it’s so commonplace), yet when done with some care it’s delicious. Most–but not all–versions include mushrooms in the sauce.

The dish is named for the Sicilian wine that gives the sauce its distinctive flavor. (And, in turn, the city where the wine is made.) Marsala is a fortified, sweet wine along the lines of port and sherry, but with a flavor all its own. However, most veal Marsala is made with dry Marsala, which is less alcoholic and sweet. (Florio is the most common–and often only–brand name.) You can make the dish with sweet Marsala, though, and that’s quite good.

Veal Marsala.

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 lb. veal round, sliced against the grain into medallions (scallopine)
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. chopped onions
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, preferably shiiitakes or portobellos
  • 2/3 cup dry Marsala
  • 1/2 cup demi-glace (optional)
  • 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped

Turn oven on to 150 degrees.

1. Pound the veal medallions lightly between two sheets of heavy plastic (such as in a food storage bag). Blend the flour, salt, and pepper, and sprinkle veal scallops very lightly with salt, pepper and flour.

2. Heat 2 Tbs. of the butter in a heavy skillet until it bubbles. Cook veal, two or three pieces at a time, for about a minute on each side. Remove to a platter and keep it warm in the oven. Add more butter to the skillet to finish the rest of the veal.

3. When all the veal is cooked, add the onions to the skillet and cook until transparent. Add the Marsala and bring to a boil, whisking the pan to dissolve the browned bits from the veal.

4. Add the mushrooms. Lower the heat and allow to simmer until the mushrooms are tender and the sauce has thickened.

5. Stir in the demi-glace if you have it. Return to a simmer, then add the parsley. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

6. Return the veal to the skillet (along with all juices that may have collected on the platter). Stir lightly to coat with the sauce. Serve on warm plates, perhaps with polenta.

Serves four.

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