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Veal Scallopini: A Classic Italian Dish of Elegance and Flavor

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Veal Scallopini is a beloved Italian dish renowned for its tender, thinly sliced veal cutlets, often served in a rich, flavorful sauce. This dish exemplifies the Italian culinary tradition of combining simple ingredients with precise cooking techniques to create a meal that is both elegant and delicious. Typically accompanied by a sauce made from white wine, lemon, and butter, Veal Scallopini is a favorite in Italian restaurants and home kitchens alike, offering a taste of Italy’s culinary finesse.

Introduction to Veal Scallopini

Veal Scallopini, derived from the Italian word “scaloppine” meaning thin slices, refers to thinly pounded cuts of veal that cook quickly and evenly. This technique not only tenderizes the meat but also allows for faster cooking times, making it a practical choice for busy kitchens. The dish’s origins can be traced back to Northern Italy, where veal is a popular meat choice for its delicate flavor and tender texture.

Ingredients

For the Veal:

  • 4 veal scallopini cutlets, thinly sliced (about 4-6 oz each)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Optional Garnish:

  • Lemon slices
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

1. Prepare the Veal Scallopini:

  • Place each veal cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound the veal until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper.

2. Dredge the Veal:

  • Dredge each veal cutlet in flour, shaking off any excess.

3. Cook the Veal:

  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and foamy.
  • Add the veal cutlets to the skillet in a single layer (you may need to cook them in batches). Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the cooked veal to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

4. Make the Sauce:

  • In the same skillet, add the white wine and chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, capers, chopped parsley, and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened slightly.

5. Finish and Serve:

  • Return the veal cutlets to the skillet, turning them in the sauce to coat evenly. Simmer for an additional 1-2 minutes to heat through.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and additional chopped parsley, if desired.

6. Plate and Enjoy:

  • Serve the veal scallopini immediately, accompanied by pasta, risotto, or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

Tips for Success

  • Choosing Veal Cutlets: Look for veal cutlets that are thinly sliced and evenly sized for uniform cooking.
  • Sauce Consistency: Adjust the cooking time for the sauce to achieve your desired consistency. If it’s too thick, add a splash of chicken broth or white wine; if too thin, simmer a bit longer.
  • Flavor Variations: Enhance the dish by adding a touch of heavy cream or substituting capers with sliced mushrooms for a different flavor profile.
  • Side Dish Pairings: Veal Scallopini pairs beautifully with sides like mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a crisp green salad dressed with vinaigrette.

Conclusion

Veal Scallopini embodies the essence of Italian cuisine—simple ingredients, precise preparation, and exquisite flavors that come together to create a dish that is both sophisticated and comforting. Whether enjoyed as a family dinner or served at a special gathering, this dish showcases the versatility and elegance of veal, making it a timeless favorite in Italian culinary traditions. Embrace the tradition of Veal Scallopini, and savor the tender veal cutlets in a lemony, caper-infused sauce that brings a taste of Italy to your table.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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