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Veal with White Wine and Vanilla Butter

I have been intrigued by the flavor of vanilla in savory dishes since the first time I encountered one. Even though vanilla works with only a narrow range of savory ingredients. But this one pleased me. I was trying to come up with a new take on veal Marsala, whose sauce is made with an aromatic, slightly sweet red wine. Without Marsala in the kitchen, however, the old brain pan went nuts. I remembered how much I liked a veal piccata I’d made using a very intensely oaky (and therefore vanilla-scented) Chardonnay. So I took it up to the next level.

When you buy veal for this, make sure it has been sliced across the grain. I find butchers have an annoying habit of slicing it with the grain, which will make the finished dish tough.

As for the vanilla, if you’re in New Orleans look for Ronald Reginald’s Melipone vanilla, which has a beguiling aroma and a Mexican-vanilla flavor.

Veal Marsala or Vanilla

  • 1 lb. white veal round scallops
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice, strained
  • 1/2 cup oak-aged Chardonnay
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla )

1. Pound the veal between two sheets of plastic (a food storage bag works perfectly) until thin.

2. Stir the salt, pepper and paprika into the flour in a wide bowl. Dust the veal slices with the seasoned flour to very lightly coat.

3. Heat 2 Tbs. of the butter and all the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until it bubbles. Add the veal, without overlapping any of it. Cook it just under 30 seconds on each side. Put it on a plate in a warm oven until serving.

4. After all the veal is cooked and removed, add the lemon juice and wine to the pan and bring it to a light boil for about two minutes, scraping the bottom to dissolve the browned bits. Lower the heat to almost nothing and stir in the vanilla. Then whisk in the remaining butter.

5. Divide the veal among four plates and spoon on the sauce.

Serves four.

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