It’s spring, and time to start bringing out the lighter more delicate dishes. The Italians have always had a flare for creative simple flavours mixing good fresh food with often easy-to-find accoutrements. A huge fan of their food, I felt those qualities would be well-suited to this particularly light-hearted season. I hope you too will find this simple version of veal scallopini perfect for a light lunch on a warm spring day.
Lightly breaded veal scallopini is topped with a simple salad of watercress and parmesan shavings, dressed just with olive oil and lemon juice. The bitterness of the watercress is balanced nicely by the tang of the lemon juice.
If you can’t find watercress, arugula is just as good. A drizzle of beurre noisette over the veal gives the dish a hint of buttery richness, and the aroma is . . . wow, simply mouth watering.
To make beurre noisette, you simply cook butter until it just starts to brown, and takes on a nutty aroma. With an added squeeze of lemon juice, this butter comes alive. Beurre noisette, or ‘Brown Butter’, is great on veal but also makes a nice sauce for pretty well any fish or seafood.
14 ounces (400 grams) thin-pounded veal cutlets
3 cups watercress
1/2 cup shaved parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup flour
Salt, pepper and oregano
Sift the flour onto a plate, add a pinch of salt, pepper and oregano and then dredge the veal in the flour. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan. Heat through, then add the veal. Fry until golden brown on each side, about three minutes per side.
Divide the veal scallopini between two plates, then heat the remaining butter in the pan used for the veal. When the butter starts to froth and turn brown, remove the pan from the heat and add the juice of half a lemon. Using a tablespoon, pour the brown butter over the veal.
Combine the watercress and the parmesan shavings in a mixing bowl and dress with one tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Place the tossed salad evenly on top of the veal. Simple and quick? Well you can be the judge of that.
Ian Leatt, a former chef in Jersey, the Channel Islands, is sales director at Pegasus Publications.