Veal Piccata

More than a few chefs say the best way to handle white veal medallions is the simplest: quickly sauteed with butter, with a sauce built from the pan juices and a little white wine and lemon juice.

This dish is so easy that I wonder why more people don’t try it. The only trick is to be sure that the veal you buy is very pale pink in color, and is cut across the grain. (Veal cut with the grain appears to have fibrous streaks and will be very tough.) Once the sauce is cooked down, you can add mushrooms and artichokes to give a very different and delightful dish.

Veal piccata, with a beurre blanc sauce and crabmeat garnish. The dish lends itself to such enhancements.

Veal piccata, with a beurre blanc sauce and crabmeat garnish. The dish lends itself to such enhancements.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb. baby veal medallions, cut into 2-oz. scallops
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice, strained
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Capers

1. Blend the flour and salt. Dust (don’t dredge) the veal scallops with the seasoned flour.

2. Heat 1 Tbs. of the butter and 1 Tbs. olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the mixture bubbles. Add the crushed red pepper. In two or three batches (depending on the size of your skillet; don’t overlap the veal), cook the veal scallops on both sides until lightly browned. This takes less than a minute. Add more butter and oil to the pan, 1 Tbs. at a time, if necessary.

3. Remove the veal scallops and keep warm. When all are cooked, add the wine and the lemon juice to the pan and bring to a boil. Whisk the bottom of the pan to dislodge browned bits and dissolve pan juices.

Optional: At this point, you can add sliced fresh mushrooms and artichoke hearts for a tangier dish.

4. Reduce the liquid in the pan by about half. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter a little at a time, to make a creamy-looking sauce.

5. Serve two or three pieces of veal per person, and nap with some of the sauce, capers, and chopped parsley. The best side dish for this in my opinion is rice, especially if cooked in a bit of stock with herbs.

Serves four to six.

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