Sunday, November 21, 2010

Escallopes of Veal with White Asparagus and Cepe Sherry Creme

This recipe is very tasty!  The flavor of sherry and cepe mushrooms are so rich and refined. 
     Most of my experience in fine dining kitchens was as a saute chef and saucier.  Veal was and still is a marquis fine dining menu item.  I used to butcher 2-3 veal legs in the afternoon just for a busy evening dinner shift.  Knowing what the different sections are used for is key when "breaking down" a leg of veal.  There are three sections that are to be ground or stewed and never sauteed.  Cutlet sections, tender sections and of course the escalloped sections are the prized cuts of a veal leg.  The bones are sawed in pieces for veal stock and the shanks are sawed for braising dishes like osso bucco. 
     It sounds like a lot of work, but I can completely and perfectly "break down" a leg of veal in twenty to thirty minutes.  That includes removing all silver floss, tendons and cutting each serving portion.  I kept several boning knives razor sharp.  When one knife started "dragging" or getting slightly dull, I would switch to the next sharpened knife.  It was better to sharpen all the boning knives while on break in those busy days.  A chef's steel only helps at the beginning of dulling. 
     As a chef, I can recognize a single little piece of veal leg and identify which leg section it came from.  At the grocery store today, I saw packages of veal stew meat.  There were rather large pieces of boneless veal in the packages.  A closer look revealed some veal stew meat cuts, but there was also some veal tender loin pieces and tender escalloped section pieces that were mixed in the package too.  So, I butterfly cut the clumsily butchered tender pieces and gently pounded the veal very thin with a wine bottle.  I placed the unwanted pieces of tough veal stewing meat in a plastic bag and froze it for another meal at a later date.  It was nice to end up with $12.00 dollars worth of escalloped veal for a total cost of $1.50.  Chefs like myself can be very sharp shoppers!
     Recipe:  Pound 4 pieces of veal escallopes thin with a mallet or wine bottle.  (About 6 ounces of veal escallopes is good for this recipe.) 
     Dredge the escalloped veal pieces in flour. 
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add a small splash of olive oil.
     Saute the veal escallopes, till they become lightly caramelized with light brown highlights. 
     Add 6 peeled white asparagus spears that are about 4 or 5 inches long.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped cepe mushrooms.
     Saute for about 30 seconds.
     Add a generous splash of sherry. 
     Add a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of white pepper. 
     Reduce the sherry to a light glace consistency. 
     Add a splash of cream.
     Reduce the sauce to a medium thin sauce sauce consistency. 
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Overlap the escalloped veal and white asparagus spears on a plate. 
     Spoon the cepe sherry cream sauce over the veal and asparagus. 
     Serve with a boiled and buttered cabbage wedge that is topped with a sprinkle of chopped red bell pepper. 
     This is a simple classic recipe that really has great eye appeal!  The flavor of sherry and cepe mushrooms is fantastic.  The light flavor of white asparagus is very pleasant.  The veal takes to the sauce like a royal marriage!  Cepe mushrooms have a classic deep mushroom flavor that is prized by chefs.  Porcini are cepes too.  Both are in the boleti polypore mushroom family of mushrooms.  Cepe mushrooms that are grown on one side of a particular mountain in Italy are labeled as porcini.  There is a distinct difference in flavor when cepe and porcini are compared even though genetically they are the same strain of mushroom.  The cepe flavor is perfect with sherry and cream.  Delicious!  ... Shawna

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