Autumn Veal Milanese
Fried veal scaloppine is the perfect base for a seasonal fall salad.
People often don't think of Veal Milanese as seasonal, but I surely do. Vine-ripened tomatoes, basil and arugula from the garden . . . these are summer staples. I thought it would be fun to make a salad for the veal that features some of Fall's best produce and flavors: acorn squash, Macoun apples, Lacinato kale, and sage. I even like the idea of tossing in some dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. If veal is not your thing and you want something more unexpected than chicken, pound thin boneless pork chops or slices of pork loin for an equally well-matched base for the salad.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; mixing bowls; fork; (3) wide shallow bowls; cast iron skillet or large sauté pan (with straight sides); rimmed sheet pans; tongs; platter; paper towels; large mixing bowl
1 bunch Lacinato Kale 1 small acorn squash 1-2 Macoun apples
1 small bunch sage leaves (stems discarded) 3 tablespoons cranberry or apple cider vinegar 3-4 tablespoons olive oil kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried cranberries (optional)
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)
8, veal scaloppine ½ cup flour 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 cups fresh challah breadcrumbs white sesame seeds vegetable and olive oil for frying
lemon wedges for garnish
1. Preheat the 400°F. Then, prepare some of the the salad ingredients. Remover the ribs and stems of the kale. Chiffonade the green leaves (make as thin strips as you possibly can) crosswise. Place the kale in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with the vinegar. Toss well to coat and set aside to macerate. Have the acorn squash and remove the seeds and fibrous strands. Slice the halves into sixths, lengthwise. Place on a sheet pan lightly drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool before cutting each piece of squash into smaller chunks (4-6 pieces).
"I like to use cranberry or pear vinegar, as well as garlic or lemon olive oil from BD Provisions. These flavored vinegars and oils take the dish to the next level, offering just a hint of something special to enhance that seasonal flavor."
2. To make the veal, combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside. Then beat the egg with a fork in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside. Put the breadcrumbs in a wide, shallow bowl and set aside. From left to right, line up the seasoned flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumbs, respectively.
“Breading is very procedural. It can be a messy proposition if you don’t follow the ILOC way: wet hand, dry hand! ”
3. Dredge one piece of veal in the seasoned flour and shake off excess. Then dip the coated veal into the egg mixture, then directly into the breadcrumbs. With a dry hand, toss well to coat and set aside. Repeat with the remaining veal scaloppine.
Breading Is As Easy As 1-2-3
You need three bowls: one shallow bowl with flour and seasonings, a second shallow bowl with eggs and other wet ingredients, and a third shallow bowl with breadcrumbs. Moving from left to right is key, and so is keeping one hand dry and one hand wet. That is, flour the food with your left hand (dry), but dip it in egg with your right hand (wet). Move the food from the egg, shaking off excess, to the breadrcumbs using your wet, right hand. Dredge the food in the breadcrumbs with your dry, left hand and move it to a pan or plate. Never put your dry hand in the eggs, or your wet hand in the flour or breadcrumbs.
4. Heat 1 inch of equal parts vegetable and olive oils in a cast iron skillet or large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the surface begins to shimmer. To test if the oil is hot, carefully lower the tip of one veal scaloppine into the oil. If the veal sizzles and begins to brown, the oil is ready. If nothing happens, the oil is not yet hot, so remove the meat immediately.
5. Once the oil is ready, carefully add the sage leaves at once to the oil and fry for 15-30 seconds until the sage darkens slightly and crisps. Remove at once with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain and set aside.
ILOC tip: frying the sage leaves before you fry the helps to flavor the oil. It also provides for the sage to be fried in clean oil without any breadcrumbs being in the mix.
6. Depending on the size of your pan, fry 2-3 pieces of veal at a time in 2 or 4 batches. Fry on one side for 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom and edges are golden brown. Turn each scaloppine carefully with tongs in the order in which they entered the pan, and fry for another 2-3 minutes, or until the veal is fully cooked.
7. Remove the veal to a large platter or cutting board lined with paper towels to drain the fat.
8. Now finish making the salad. Quarter the apple, remove the seeds/tough core, and slice into bite-size pieces. Add the apple and squash pieces to macerated kale and stir to incorporate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add half the fried sage leaves. If using cranberries and pumpkin seeds, as these in now, too. Gently toss together the ingredients.
9. If necessary, the veal can be warmed in the 400°F oven in a single layer on a sheet pan for 2 minutes. Serve topped with the salad, remaining sage leaves, and lemon wedges.
Makes 4 servings.
Fall Bounty = Bountiful Options
Acorn squash and Macoun apples are wonderful in this recipe, but so too are Kabocha or Delicata squahes (both with skin-on!), as well as Gala or Honeycrisp apples (any variety that is crispy and juicy). Pears would be equally scrumptious. I love the heartiness of Lacinato kale, but any variety of kale would do. They key is to balance flavors, textures, and colors and select things seasonally where you live. It's all about technique, NOT torture. So, pick what you like with what is available and definitionally you will be successful every time!