Marsala is a fortified wine, originating in Sicily. It can roughly be thought of as the Italian equivalent of Sherry, or Port, and, like both of those, it too has both sweet and dry varieties. As a libation, it is most commonly served as an aperitif, but it is also used quite widely as a culinary ingredient, most notably as a sauce base for cutlets of chicken breast, or, as here, escalope of veal.
The basic ‘Veal Marsala’ consists simply of thinly pounded slices of veal pan-fried and served in Marsala that has been reduced to a syrupy glaze. Nowadays, mushrooms are commonly added and some versions are made with a much more copious sauce that is extended with stock or even cream. Today, the version I am preparing includes mushrooms but keeps things simple by just using a pure Marsala reduction for the sauce…
- 1lb Veal cutlets;
- 4 Tbsp. Flour;
- 3 cups fresh Button Mushrooms, sliced thinly;
- 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped;
- 1 cup Marsala Wine (not too dry);
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice;
- 1 pinch Ground Black Pepper;
- Olive Oil.
I have specifically not given any amounts of either oil, or butter, for two reasons: First, you may wish to cook the mushrooms, and then the meat, in either butter, or in oil, or else a combination of the two. Also, it is not always to gauge the amount of butter (or oil) needed to cook the mushrooms as they tend to absorb quite a bit and you often need to add a little extra to keep them nicely coated as they cook.
This is the veal I picked up at my local market. It is not absolutely top-notch, milk-fed veal (of the sort preferred for, say, Weiner Schnitzel) but it is perfectly fine for this dish.
First, you need to cut your cutlets into appropriate sized pieces and then pound each thin to tenderize it. Afterwards, coat each piece in flour, shake off all the excess, and set the cutlets aside until needed.
Now heat a pan over a moderate flame and add enough butter, oil, or a combination thereof to cover the bottom and add the mushrooms. Stir and toss for a minute or two and, if necessary, add more fat until the mushrooms are nicely coated. Cover the pan and allow the mushroom pieces to sweat out all their water and then finally, uncover and saute a little longer, adding the pepper and lemon juice, until the slices are nicely browned. Remove and keep warm in a bowl until required again.
Next, add more butter and/or oil as needed and pan-fry the veal pieces until nicely golden. Remove to a platter and keep warm for the moment
Now, turn up the heat and use a little of the wine to deglaze the pan. A soon as all the brown bits are scoured up and dissolved, add the mushrooms and the rest of the wine and reduce until the only remaining liquid is thick and syrupy.
Finally, put the veal back into the pan just until completely warmed through again and serve immediately.