Veal scaloppine: The sauté every chef should master
Sometimes the simplest cooking techniques are the most difficult to master, said Michael Ruhlman in Ruhlman’s How to Sauté (Little, Brown). We all cook with hot oil in a shallow pan sometimes, but at a fine restaurant, the “hot seat” is the sauté station, and only the best cooks work there. The technique has “countless nuances.”
At the Culinary Institute of America, veal scaloppine was the first dish we learned at the station, and “there is no more emblematic sauté.” Served with a simple pan sauce, it “goes beautifully with pasta with garlic and olive oil and a little salad.” It also teaches a few key lessons. First, most sautés aren’t intended to tenderize food, so you start with a tender cut and tenderize it further with a mallet. Next, the purpose of cooking in hot oil is to create a flavorful browned crust, so the veal is dredged in flour to prevent moisture on the meat from sending the oil temperature plummeting. In minutes, the veal changes from “raw and unappealing” to “visually enticing and delicious.”
Recipe of the week
4 5-oz slices of veal top round
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 to 2 tbsp minced shallot
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 200 if you’ll be cooking the veal in batches. Place each veal slice between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or skillet to a thickness of about ¼ inch. Season slices with salt and pepper. Spread about ½ cup flour on a plate, enough to coat all of the veal.
Set a large sauté pan over high heat. Dredge veal in flour and shake off the excess. When pan is hot, add vegetable oil and swirl it around pan until hot. Lower heat to medium-high and add to hot oil two to four floured scaloppine, depending on size of pan (they should not touch each other). Cook them until they develop a nice browned crust, about 60 seconds. Flip and brown the other side. Keep finished veal slices warm in oven while sautéing the rest.
When all scaloppine are done, add shallot to empty pan and sauté till heated through, 15 to 20 seconds. Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to pan, until wine is reduced by two-thirds. Add lemon juice. Return liquid to simmer, swirl in butter, and continue to swirl or stir until completely melted. Add parsley; stir or swirl sauce to distribute.
Return scaloppine to pan and coat each side with sauce. Serve immediately, spooning any remaining sauce over veal. Serves 4.
Wine: Island elixirs
Didn’t get to Corsica this summer? asked Elin McCoy in Bloomberg.com. Let the wines made on the poshest Mediterranean islands put you in a holiday mood. The grapes are frequently hard-to-pronounce natives, but they’re “ripened by luminous sun, salt air, and the mistral wind,” and the wines are “really, really good.”2015 Yves Leccia Domaine d’E Croce Patrimonio Rosé ($25). A pale, pink-orange rosé from Corsica itself, this mouthwatering blend “has a taste of strawberries and the bite of salted lemons.”2014 Vigne Surrau Vermentino di Gallura Superiore Sciala ($25). The Vermentino grape was once labeled “the yachtsman’s white.” This Sardinian bottling offers pear and almond notes, plus “aromas of wild sage.”2013 Casa d’Ambra Frassitelli Ischia Biancolella ($20). Made from grapes grown 2,000 feet above sea level on the island of Ischia, this Biancolella is a “savory, juicy” white, “with aromas of fennel and spicy, lemony flavors.”
Cold noodles: An unconventional antidote to summer’s heat
Cold Asian noodles always have a particularly strong appeal “when the temperature leans toward three digits and the asphalt begins to soften,” said Jonathan Gold in the Los Angeles Times. During an L.A. summer, these are three of my favorite noodle dishes. Almost any Chinese restaurant will serve you some kind of cold sesame noodles, and “there’s nothing wrong with them that a packet or two of chili sauce can’t fix.” But these dishes—they’re “the noodles you fell asleep dreaming of last night.”
Mool chic naengmyun How cold is this black noodle dish when you order it at Koreatown’s Yu Chun?
“So cold that it gives you an ice cream headache. So cold that the tangy broth builds up in soft drifts in the middle of the bowl.” It’s typically served with a small mug of warm, peppery beef broth to counterbalance the chill. 3185 W. Olympic Blvd., (213) 382-3815
Bun thit nuong This Vietnamese staple is served at room temperature and is a do-ityourself operation. At Orange County’s Brodard Chateau, you throw together chopped lettuce, Vietnamese herbs, and rice vermicelli with roasted peanuts, then toss it all with chili and sweetened fish sauce. “There are slices of grilled pork involved—that’s the thit nuong”—and the result is “more or less a minty, garlicky, basil-intensive noodle salad.”9100 Trask Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 899-8273
Liang pi At Shaanxi Gourmet in Rosemead, the liang pi is “satisfying in a dozen different ways.” Translucent cold steamed noodles are “subtly enhanced with the flavor of toasted chilis,” then tossed with cucumber slivers, sprinkled with vinegar, and garnished with “springy, sauce-soaked cubes of pure gluten.” The combination is “mysteriously yet profoundly refreshing.”8518 E. Valley Blvd., Rosemead, (626) 288-9886