Veal Piccata is one of those classics of Italian cuisine that most people have heard about and which almost always appears on the menus of the more upmarket Italian restaurants. Essentially, it is Veal Scaloppini dish in which the thinly sliced veal cutlets are pan-fried and served in a lemon and caper pan-reduction sauce. Generally, the cutlets are simply seasoned and flour-coated (which some purists will maintain is required in order to be a true ‘Scaloppini’) but, occasionally, you will come across recipes where the meat is breaded before being fried. My take on this classic is fairly simple…
- 1lb Veal Cutlets;
- 1/3 cup White Flour;
- Salt and Pepper;
- ¼ cup minced Onion;
- ½ tsp. minced Garlic;
- ¼ cup White Wine;
- ¼ cup Chicken Stock;
- 3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice;
- 4 Tbsp. Butter;
- 2 Tbsp. Capers;
- 2 Tbsp. Chopped Parsley.
First, cut your veal into as many little ‘scaloppini’ as you like (four six is about right for a pound of veal), and season with the salt and pepper. Next, pound each piece with a meat mallet until about a quarter inch thick and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. I like to do this a few hours ahead and then leave the pieces to sit in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to cook, heat a little oil in a pan over a low-medium heat and gently fry the veal until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. Remove them to a warm platter for the time being.
Now, turn up the heat under the pan to a moderate high and add the onion garlic and wine. When the wine starts to bubble, deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook down until the onion is soft and the liquid has reduced to no more than a thickish glaze.
Add the stock, lemon juice, and capers, and continue to stir and reduce for a few minutes, then stir in the butter. Allow to thicken to the consistency of a thin gravy.
Finally, add the veal back to the pan along with the parsley and cook for a minute or two longer until the meat is heated through. Serve immediately, garnished with a little extra parsley (or lemon slices) if desired.
You could serve this with pasta (or even rice, possibly) but I like this with mashed potatoes and, usually, some green vegetable or other. To be honest, I don’t do veal Piccata very often but I frequently use the same basic technique for pork or chicken…