May 30, 2015
On Thursday night, after a cocktail party for Book Expo, I found myself wandering the Columbus Circle Whole Foods supermarket in search of something to cook for dinner.
I looked at the soft shell crabs, but they seemed sad and exhausted. The steamer clams looked tempting, but I decided to peruse the butcher counter before committing.
And there it was: humanely raised veal from a local farm, glowing up at me. Rosy pink, it looked very seductive.
I've missed veal. I was raised by a Berlin-born man who considered Wiener Schnitzel one of life's major food groups. But modern veal, which is primarily a by-product of dairy farming, is problematic. Male calves are removed from their mothers soon after birth to keep them from drinking up the profits. They're fed a low iron diet, which keeps the meat white but is so unhealthy that the formula is generally laced with antibiotics. The result is pale, listless meat with no taste; there's no way you can feel good about eating it.
But this looked different. I couldn't resist.
I bought some beautiful pink veal, took it home, and cooked it quickly with lemons and capers. It was fantastic. My only worry is this: am I ever going to find this glorious veal again?
Veal with Lemon and Capers
1 pound veal scaloppine, cut from the leg
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chicken stock
squeeze of lemon juice
Put each piece of veal between two pieces of wax paper and pound with a heavy object (I use a rolling pin), until it is very thin.
Spread a good handful of flour on a plate, add a fair amount of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Dredge each piece of veal in the flour, and put on a plate to dry out a bit.
Cut the ends off the lemon, then slice off the rind. Remove the seeds and cut the peeled lemon into eight segments.
Melt the olive and butter, over high heat, in a large skillet. Cook the veal, in stages, about 1 minute on each side, and remove to a large platter.
Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and lemon juice, scraping up the brown bits. Add the lemon pieces and boil down until the lemon has gone soft and the liquid is reduced in half; it should only take a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down, add the veal and capers to the pan, turn to coat the meat, add another tablespoon of butter and stir until the sauce is slightly thickened and serve to four people.
I like to served this on rice, to soak up all that delicious sauce.
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