I like veal a lot. The only problem is finding it. In our area, the only types I can find are veal scallops, veal chops, and ground chops. And, once in a great while, veal blade steak. And, sadly, while we have ethnic grocery stores in our area, none are the type to carry veal (they’re all Asian or Hispanic).
So, in most cases, I stick with veal scallops which aren’t quite as expensive as the veal chops. To Americans, the classic preparation of veal must be in veal parmesan (which has been mostly subsumed by the chicken variety). While it’s good (and I’ve made it and will probably make it again), I think the veal flavor gets overwhelmed by the tomato sauce and cheese.
When I pull out of the freezer, I usually look for something a bit out of the ordinary. While veal isn’t a special occasion dish for us, it is a bit more special than a normal dinner. French preparations seem a bit better at emphasizing the flavor of the veal without overwhelming it.
The major reason for choosing this recipe was that I had fresh tarragon that I wanted to use. The dish is fairly fast and the main time constraint was boiling water for pasta twice because I didn’t discover that the egg noodles had bugs in them until after the pasta was in the water (I switched to farfalle in fresh water afterwards; I didn’t need extra protein that night). The sauce nicely accents the veal without overpowering it. It also has the consistency of a cream sauce without having any actual cream in it.
Escalopes de Veau à l’Estragon (Veal Scallops with Brown Tarragon Sauce)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One
4 veal scallops (veal scallopini)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp minced shallots
2 tbsp vermouth
2 tsp fresh tarragon, minced
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 tsp corn starch mixed with 1 tsp water
1 tbsp softened butter
- Season the veal with salt and pepper on both sides. Dry with paper towels.
- In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter with the oil over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the veal scallops and brown on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the veal to a plate.
- Add the shallots to the skillet and cook for one minute.
- Deglaze the pan with the vermouth, scrapping up any browned bits.
- Add the chicken stock, corn starch, and 1 tsp tarragon. Boil for 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
- Return the veal to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes or until the veal is cooked through.
- Check the sauce for seasoning. Off heat, add the softened butter and remaining 1 tsp tarragon.
- Serve with buttered egg noodles (or at least that’s what we had).