Veal Milanese

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Of course, if you don’t want to use veal, you can definitely substitute. You could use pork or turkey, but you could also use chicken if you wish.

This was one of my favourite dishes as a child. For years, every time we went out to a restaurant, I would order Escalope Milanese. It reminds me of a happy childhood, old fashioned Italian restaurants where the owner and waiters knew you by name and served delicious home style yet excellent cuisine. Ahh, memories…

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 nice thinly sliced veal scallopine or escalopes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil for sautéing
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preparation:

In a shallow dish, beat eggs
Pour flour into another shallow dish
Mix together the bread crumbs, basil, thyme and oregano in a third shallow dish
Season the veal with salt and pepper
Working with 1 piece of veal at a time, dip it first in the flour, shaking off excess
Next, place the floured veal into the beaten eggs, coating completely
Place the veal into the bread crumb mixture and gently press crumbs into the veal
Set aside on large plate and continue with remaining veal slices
In a large skillet with high sides, heat the oil
Carefully place the pieces of breaded veal in the hot oil and sauté until golden brown on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes total
Place cooked veal in oven to keep warm until all the pieces are cooked
Serve with lemon wedges and a rocket or arugula salad
Enjoy!

Risotto with wild mushrooms and lamb

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups mixed mushrooms (chanterelles, button, porcini, cremini, morilles), cleaned and chopped
150 g / 3/4 cup arborio rice
150 ml / 2/3 cup dry white wine
750 ml /3 cups hot chicken stock (may not use all)
25 g / 1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
1 cup shredded leftover lamb roast (optional)

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and add the shallots
Sauté over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes, until soft and translucent
Add the mushrooms, stirring occasionally for a further 2-3 minutes, until browned
Stir in the rice and coat in the oil
Pour in the wine and simmer, stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed
Add a ladleful of the stock and simmer, stirring again, until all the liquid has been absorbed
Continue simmering and adding the stock in this way, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is plump and tender and creamy
Remove from the heat, add the butter, parsley and season to taste
Add the lamb if using
Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan
Enjoy!

Moules Marinière

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Mussels with wine, cream, garlic and parsley. A quintessential French bistro dish.

Examine mussels before using. If they’re gritty or have lots of beards (it’ll look like bits of hair coming out from between their shells), scrub them well under cold water and pull out the beards by grabbing them and pulling towards the hinge-end of the mussels. Farm-raised mussels are generally quite clean when they are sold. Discard any cracked mussels or open mussels that don’t close when tapped with another mussel.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 kg / 2 pounds mussels, cleaned
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt
Crusty baguette, to serve

Preparation:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat
Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes
Add the mussels, wine and butter, and season well with salt
Give it a good stir, cover the pot, and cook until mussels open and are cooked through, about 5 minutes
Add the cream and the chopped parsley and remove from the heat
Spoon into two large warmed bowls and serve with lots of crusty bread
Enjoy!