The veal cutlets at the butcher today were irresistable–paper thin and no visible muscle or sinew. This looked like the perfect dinner for one.
The dish requires only a couple of pieces of thinly sliced veal, some flour, some butter and a touch of marsala. My neighbor Beppi told me that I should always have a bottle of Marsala in my pantry. It doesn’t spoil, so it can come in handy when you’re cooking a simple chicken breast or veal cutlet and you don’t want to open a bottle of wine but you want a little added flavor. The Marsala lends the veal a much more rich and complex flavor than wine.
This is the simplest and quickest of dishes to prepare and hardly requires a recipe Since my butcher has already pounded these cutlets thin for me, there is nothing to do except season them with salt and pepper, dredge lightly in flour and lightly sear them, then splash with Marsala and reduce a couple of minutes. That’s it!
I used to think that high heat was the way to go on this dish, but Beppi showed me his version using chicken breasts and they barely even turned golden. He actually started the cutlets in a cold skillet, then turned on the heat. By the time the cutlets had begun to brown, it was time to flip them. Then they cooked briefly on the other side. The upside of this gentle cooking was that the meat stayed moist and tender–not an easy feat with a chicken breast. Therefore, for my veal cutlet, I’ve opted for cold pan-medium heat method.
To accompany the veal, I’ve made two of my favorite side dishes–skillet potatoes (see prior “dinner for one” post) and sauteed broccoli di rapa (see “fritto di mare” post ).
2 thinly pounded veal cutlets (about 1/3 lb total)
1 tbl flour
1 tbl olive oil
2 tsps butter
1/4 c dry Marsala
Salt and Pepper to taste
Season the cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides, then dredge in flour and shake off excess. Spread the oil in a cold skillet, then lay in the cutlets. Top each cutlet with half a teaspoon of butter. Turn heat to medium and cook for about 2 minutes or until they just begin to color.
Turn cutlets over and cook for another minute. Remove the cutlets from the skillet and turn up the heat. Pour off the fat from the pan, leaving any brown bits. Add the remaining teaspoon of butter and the Marsala and reduce until the wine has just about evaporated and there is a bit of glaze in the pan. Return the cutlets to the skillet for a few seconds to coat with sauce, then serve.