Breaded veal escalopes

I’ve posted about various breaded meat and poultry escalopes before, but these are made with British rosé veal, rather than pork, chicken or turkey. Rosé veal is veal that is raised in a more humane environment than the now-illegal crated veal of the past, as this RSPA document explains. The meat comes from male calves that are surplus to the requirements of dairy farming.

I like veal, it is a nice meat to eat and we ought to eat it more in the UK, to prevent the unnecessary export of calves to the continent, where it is a valued ingredient. If the calves are raised in humane conditions, there is really no ethical difference between eating veal, pork or lamb. Obviously, you have to be a meat eater to see this as ethical, but I am not trying to start a debate about the ethics of vegetarianism here.

Anyway, this is a food blog, so on with the recipe.

Many butchers in the UK don’t really have the experience of cutting escalopes compared with their continental colleagues and usually the cuts available are too small and often have inedible connective tissue running across the grain of the meat. This was the case with the veal I’d bought, so I cut out the inedible bits (I say inedible, but the dogs liked them) and trimmed the escalopes into smaller slices before beating them out with a meat mallet.

These were then seasoned, floured, egged and crumbed and put in the fridge until it was time to cook them. I used a standard dried crumb chapelure this time, instead of my usual panko. Both are good, but avoid using the weird orange-coloured breadcrumbs that many shops sell. If you want to add some colour, use a teaspoon of paprika mixed in with the crumbs. This will give your escalopes a hint of Austro-Hungarian Mitteleuropa. You can also add grated parmesan cheese, grated lemon zest or dried sage to the crumbs for variation. That seems rather Italian, which could be a good thing to do. Experimentation is always a good idea, but remember that sage can be pretty overpowering, so moderation is required.

Escalopes are easy to cook. You can deep-fry them, but they will tend to end up on the hard side, so I prefer to shallow-fry them in a neutral oil like sunflower or grape-seed. You need to get the oil hot first, add the escalopes and turn them once, after two or three minutes, to ensure that both sides are crisp and golden. You can finish them off by pouring away the oil and adding a large knob of butter and frying them on each side for maybe 30 seconds or so.

They don’t really need a sauce, but a squeeze of lemon juice is nice.

You can serve them with chips or sautéed potatoes, or maybe pasta (spätzle would be good) and a green salad is a nice idea, especially if you make a lemon and olive oil dressing, to which you could add a few capers and/or chopped anchovy fillets, drained of their oil. Last night, I just did a simple green salad with a lemon/oil dressing and some new potatoes finished off with chopped chives and a knob of butter.

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