Veal Piccata with Parsley
I got a request for this dish, one I made years ago when I was single and cooking for a date, and the result was exquisite. It is the classic Italian recipe. There are several different ways to prepare this dish, but this preparation is the way it is done in Milan, where it originated. The Joy Of Cooking suggests 2 tablespoons rinsed capers (salted, not pickled) instead of prosciutto and olive oil instead of butter. That is the Americanization of the dish, originally done by Italian restaurants in the U.S. because of the cost of proper prosciutto, and because restaurateurs discovered that American palettes were generally not sophisticated enough to appreciate and enjoy the salty and aromatic nature of the Italian ham vis-a-vis a dish that evolved into a gently flavorful Amer-Italian favorite. Made with good capers it is a finely flavored dish. Made with prosciutto it is extraordinary. In another American innovation, thin cutlets of chicken or turkey are sometimes used to replace fine veal to good results, but they are not to be confused with the real thing. Please try to make it this way at least once. I give you:
* 1 pound (450 g) thinly sliced veal
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1/3 cup unsalted butter
* 2 fairly thick (1/8 inch, or 3 mm) slices prosciutto
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* The juice of a half a lemon
* 1/2 cup (125 ml) beef broth (or bouillon)
* Salt & pepper
* A slice of lemon and a sprig of parsley
Slice the prosciutto slices widthwise to obtain match-stick sized pieces. Mince the parsley.
Wet a broad-bladed knife with cold water and gently pound the slices to thin them, taking care not to punch through them. Put the flour, a healthy pinch of salt and a grind of pepper in a paper bag. Pat the cutlets dry, put them into the bag (one at a time) and shake the bag to flour them.
Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a skillet and sauté the prosciutto slivers for about five minutes. Turn the heat to high and add the veal, turning the slices as soon as their undersides are done (you want to cook them rapidly, before they give off a great flood of water). As soon as the slices are done, remove them to a serving dish and keep them warm. Return the pan to the fire, add the broth, and stir up the drippings that have stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Let the juices cook down a little, then remove the pan from the fire and stir in the remaining butter, the lemon juice, and the minced parsley. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve, with the lemon and parsley as garnish.