Cooking Veal

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 Alison McKee

Veal was not included in my mother’s repertoire of dishes. It must have been widely available, despite it being unheard of in our house, as many early community cookbooks from the first half of the twentieth century and the ‘iconic’ Edmonds Cookery Book include several veal recipes, mostly for Roasted and Stuffed Veal Fillet or Veal and Ham pie.
Although the morality of veal production has been, and quite rightly, debated in the past there is a trend today towards more humane production. Veal has the least fat of all the red meats and is rich in vitamins and minerals particularly magnesium and zinc. Veal cuts mirror those of beef but are smaller, leaner and tenderer. Veal is best cooked medium, not rare, but care must be taken so it doesn’t dry out during the cooking process. Often recipes that are grilled or fried have an additional component of ‘fat’ added, such as prosciutto, bacon, butter, cream, cheese, ham or pork fat cut into lardons.
However, it’s not all bad! Classic dishes include Osso Buco (braised), Blanquette of Veal (stewed) and Vitello Tonnate (poached) – veal with tuna and anchovy mayonnaise. Veal racks are a relativity inexpensive cut when compared to lamb racks. Like lamb racks they are delicious with a herb crust. Add lemon zest for a ‘zing’ in your crust mixture and cut back on the butter by substituting a small amount of the butter for softened honey. Try serving the herb crusted veal racks with Porcini Oven Baked Risotto. For a further Italian inspired dish add chopped olives to Veal and Pork Mince meatballs.
Unfortunately I have no willpower and my favourite veal dish is Saltimbocca – escalopes of veal, sage leaves, prosciutto, copious amounts of butter and dry Marsala.

Porcini Oven Baked Risotto
Osso Buco
Tuna Mayonnaise

(Photography courtesy Gourmet Direct Ltd.)

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5 thoughts on “Cooking Veal

  1. Hi Trish

    The Saltimbocca recipe I use is from Leanne Kitchen’s new book ‘The Butcher’ printed 2008 Murdoch Books and costs around $45.00. (The book is just gorgeous)
    Here is the condensed version.

    8 small veal escalopes
    8 slices prosciutto
    8 sage leaves
    2 tabs olive oil
    60gm butter
    185ml dry Marsala (or dry white wine)

    Place the veal between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound until ¼ inch thick. Season.
    Cut the prosciutto the same size as the veal. Cover the veal with the prosciutto and place a sage leaf in the centre – secure with a toothpick.

    Heat the oil and ½ the butter in a pan. Add the veal prosciutto side up and fry, in batches, 3-4 mins or until cooked through. Turn and fry the prosciutto side – transfer to a warm plate.

    Pour of the oil and deglaze the pan using the Marsala. Reduce by half then add the remaining butter and season.

    To serve: Remove the toothpicks and spoon over the sauce.

  2. Hi there, I have searched the recipte for Saltimbocca but no go. I have been buying veal for the past 2 weeks and we won’t go back to the ‘older’ beef. Back in the 70’s I used to cook t-bones, sometimes stuffed. So, last night I stuffed veal t-bones with thin pancetta, a little garlic, herbs and cheese. Normally I would use gruyere or mozzarella, but I used Colby which was fine. I coated these with the Panko breadcrumbs. I had no egg, so I used milk before crumbing. They were great.The Saltimbocca would be hugely appreciated.
    kind regards, trish.