Veal escalopes

VEAL ESCALOPES WITH ARTICHOKES AND PROSCIUTTO

1/2 lemon
4 globe artichokes
plain flour, for dusting
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 thin slices veal tenderloin (about 120g each), trimmed of fat
120ml olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
170ml white wine|
8 thin slices prosciutto
1 sprig fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

SERVES 4

Squeeze the lemon into a bowl of cold water. Trim the artichokes of their tough outer leaves, and trim the stems, leaving 3cm attached. Using a peeler or a small knife, remove the tough green outer layer of the stem. Cut the artichokes in half lengthways and scrape out the choke (the furry centre). Drop them in the lemon water to stop discolouration. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl, place some flour, and season with salt and pepper. Dust each piece of veal with seasoned flour, and set aside.

Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the artichokes, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and the artichokes have browned. Add 2/3 cup water, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until the artichokes are soft and the liquid has almost evaporated. Set aside.

In a non-stick pan, heat some olive oil on medium heat and pan-fry the veal for 1-2 minutes on each side until browned. You will need to do this in batches. When you have cooked the last piece of veal, set them aside in a low oven to keep warm.

Add the wine to the pan to deglaze it. Add the prosciutto and tarragon and simmer for 1-2 minutes to just wilt the prosciutto. Add the artichokes and a few tablespoons of water, to create a sauce. Check the seasoning. Let it bubble for up to 30 seconds, then serve immediately over the veal - on 4 individual plates or 1 large platter.

Asparagus soup

CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP WITH PARMESAN CROUTONS

60g butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
1 large desiree potato, peeled and roughly chopped
800ml fresh chicken stock
150ml pouring cream
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Parmesan croutons
1 cup finely diced day-old sourdough bread (or any kind of dense bread)
20ml olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 tbsp finely grated good-quality parmesan

SERVES 4

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the leek, garlic, salt and pepper and sweat over a low heat until the leek is soft. Add the asparagus and potato and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, so vegetables are lightly coated in butter mixture.

Add the stock and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the asparagus and potatoes are tender. Transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth.

Return the mixture to the saucepan, add the cream and lemon juice, and heat until just warmed through. Remove from the heat and season to taste.

For the croutons, combine the bread, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place the bread on an oven tray in one layer, and bake for 4-6 minutes until lightly golden. Remove the croutons from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for another 1-2 minutes until croutons are brown and crisp, tossing to stop burning. Allow to cool on tray.

Serve the soup in large bowls, topped with a spoonful or 2 of the croutons.


HOT TIPS

• Serve the veal with a rocket and parmesan salad, or with a salad of cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. It's pretty tasty with mash, too.

• Beaten-out chicken breast is a good substitute for the veal.

• You can still serve this dish if artichokes are not in season; just use preserved artichokes - it's much easier, too!

• Croutons will keep for a few days in an airtight container in a dry place. They can be tossed through salads to add crunch, and go especially well in a caesar salad.


SOMETHING TO DRINK

Montepulciano
Continue the Italian flavours of the veal escalopes with a 2008 Umani Ronchi Montepulciano D'Abruzzo ($18)from central Italy. Montepulciano is a widely planted Italian variety, delivering dark bramble fruits, medium body and a dry, flavourful finish.


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The story Veal escalopes first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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