Saturday, February 20, 2010

Valentine's Day Veal Piccata

One of the restaurants that has been important in Joe's and my life together is Damian's Cucina Italiana in Houston. It's an unassuming brick building in Midtown, right across from Brennan's. We first ate there for a meeting of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians when Joe was in medical school. That was when I fell in love with their veal piccata. The sauce was silky and buttery, and the veal was so tender that it nearly melted in my mouth. I don't remember what it was served with because the veal stole the show. We also ate at Damian's the night that Joe proposed, and of course, I had the veal piccata. So when I was planning a Valentine's Day menu and Joe requested Italian, my thoughts immediately went to making veal piccata.

We brainstormed a menu that included Caesar salad, roasted asparagus, veal piccata on a bed of fettuccine, and Molten Chocolate Spiced Cabernet Cakes. While it certainly wasn't a cheap dinner, it was a much more economical option than one of the many prix fixe menus around town. The piccata sauce was a dead ringer for the sauce at Damian's with lots of lemon flavor tamed by the silky sweetness of the butter, but the veal wasn't quite as tender as I would've liked.

Veal Piccata
adapted from Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary Edition

1 lb boneless veal cutlets pounded to slightly less than 1/4 inch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp capers, drained
1/4 cup butter, softened
salt and black pepper

Season the veal cutlets with salt and black pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess.

Heat 1 tbsp each of olive oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the cutlets for about 30 to 60 seconds on each side. Remove and keep warm.

Add white wine and lemon juice to the pan. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits with a spoon. Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in butter, capers, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the scaloppine and serve immediately.