Saturday, July 18, 2009

Veal or Chicken Piccata

Tradition, tradition, tradition...  Sometimes it's good to be creative in the kitchen and come up with your own unique ideas.  Sometimes you just need to shut up and cook the damn thing the way it was intended.  For instance.  Can you improve Nessun dorma, the greatest tenor aria of all time by putting a rock beat to it, or will you ruin a good thing?  You obviously know my opinion.  If you happen to be a musician running to your staff paper to recompose a perfect aria, you probably won't like this recipe either.  This is the basic, unscrewed around with, and I must say perfect the way it was intended original.  Now I happen to be a true veal lover, and I think making this dish with chicken is an outrage, but I know some of you have a real problem with veal, and I do respect that.  I truly do.  If I had to be the one raising, and then dispatching an infant cow for the sake of someone else's "sophisticated" palatte, I don't think I could do it.  They have such pretty eyes, and hell, it's a baby!  However, if someone else is willing to burden their soul by committing the deed, I'm willing to burden mine by eating it.  This dish needs nothing but some lightly buttered tagliatelle served alongside it.  I like to toss the pasta with just a little parsley, and that's it.  Now you will notice that there is no garlic in this dish.  Contrary to popular American beliefs, Italians do not like big chunks of garlic in their food.  For one thing, it can kill a dish when it's supposed to merely inhance it, and isn't Italy the land of love?  How much num nums can an Italian get from their significant other when they have garlic oil oozing out of their lungs and pores?  Over garlicasizing (to create my own word like a nameless former president might have) is American, and American only.  As more Italian dishes begin to appear on this blog (hello, my last name is Bono) you will see a shockingly reduced amount of garlic in them.  In my opinion, garlic and veal are not great bedfellows for a lot of reasons, but first and foremost, veal is a very delicate meat and buttery in flavor, and I think it needs to be the star of the show.  You will find that my Marsala recipe that will follow later only has a small amount of garlic in it as well.  However, this particular dish does not traditionally include garlic.

2 bacon slices, chopped (or if you can find a good Pancetta by all means use it!)
6 ounces veal or chicken scallops (about 6 scallops), pounded very thin
All purpose flour (for dredging)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon drained capers (optional, but very disappointing if you don't use them.)
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Fresh or deep fried sage leaves (optional)

Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.  Transfer to bowl using slotted spoon.  Season veal with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour; shake off excess.  Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan drippings in skillet and melt over medium-high heat.  Add veal and sauté until just cooked through, about 1 minute per side.  Divide veal between 2 plates; tent with foil to keep warm. Add wine to same skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.  Boil until liquid is reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.  Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter.  Mix in pine nuts, capers, minced sage and bacon.  Season with pepper.   Spoon sauce over veal. Garnish with sage leaves if desired and serve.  A cool garnishing idea it to take your sage leaves and drop them into a fryer for about 10 seconds.  They retain their beautiful color, but become crispy.  At some of the restaurants I used to work, we would have deep fried sage and basil leaves as garnishes all the time, they look really neat.

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