(March 1, 2019) There is little that shapes one’s culinary experience as profoundly and persuasively as creativity.
Whether the learning process involves unconscious progression, daily perseverance, or divine intervention – will always be a subject for debate.
But we do know that ingenuity is an ingredient that must be incorporated in every aspect of cookery if distinction is to flourish.
Without the embellishment of excellence, our time in the kitchen reduces to a state of predictability.
Devotion to truth and tradition is understood and necessary for achievement. However, it does not open the door to discovery and therefore limits one’s capacity for future development.
With this thought in mind, let us shift our attention to veal and examine how we can create a whimsical meal that is packed with flavor and originality.
There is nothing better than a thick, gorgeous veal chop. The sweet, succulent meat reigns supreme and pairs beautifully with an array of different sauces.
Veal marsala, osso buco and veal parmigiana are some of my favorite Italian dishes. I haven’t had veal parmigiana in ages and find myself drooling over the crispy, fried medallions of veal, rich tomato sauce and gooey cheese that are baked to perfection.
I have decided I want to combine a veal chop and veal parmigiana into an exciting dish that will wow my guests. Inspiration must take hold if this meal is going to materialize.
In a split second, I know exactly what I want to make.
Several years ago, I took mother to Manhattan for the Christmas holidays. My father had passed on Christmas Day the previous year and I knew the following Christmas was going to be very difficult.
After spending an evening at the theatre, we dined at Trattoria Dell Arte. This restaurant was highly recommended and our experience surpassed its lovely reputation.
One of the featured entrees was called “Veal Chop Parmigiana.” This dish consists of a veal rib chop that has been pounded out to a thin consistency. It is then prepared in the style of a veal parmigiana and is embellished with small pepperonis which gives it the effect of a pizza.
I have never forgotten this fun, innovative presentation. Thinking out of the box leaves a lasting impression. So, get out your pen and paper as we create a veal chop parmigiana.
You will need to purchase 4 veal rib chops as opposed to veal loin chops. Your best bet is to order this particular cut from your local butcher.
Have him cut the chine bone off the chops so only the rib bone remains. Also, have your butcher French the chop by cutting all the meat from the rib bone. This enhances the overall dish with a more dramatic presentation.
Brining is the secret to incredible juicy, tender meat. Brine the veal rib chops for 24 hours in a ratio of 1 quart of water to 1/8th cup of salt.
Once the meat has been brined, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry with paper towels.
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the chop and pound each side of the meat with a meat tenderizer. You want the meat to have no more than ½-inch thickness.
Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Repeat this process for the remaining chops.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set up the dredging station by placing 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour on a large plate.
Then, whisk 2 large eggs with 2 teaspoons of water in a large shallow bowl. Lastly, combine 2 cups of unseasoned bread crumbs, 2 cups unseasoned panko bread crumbs, two tablespoons finely chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper on a large plate.
Coat the veal rib chop with flour and shake off the excess. Dip the chop into the egg mixture and again allow the excess to drip off.
Then, coat the meat with the breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently with your fingers to make sure the breadcrumbs adhere to the egg wash.
Heat ½ cup olive oil in a large Dutch oven or large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the veal chops until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Using tongs, turn the chops and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, adding a little more oil if necessary. Remove the chops from the stove and place on a platter. Using a paper towel, blot the chops to remove any excess liquid.
Lightly oil a baking pan or large baking dish. Spoon a touch of your favorite bottled or homemade tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Place the veal chops on top of the sauce and finish with 1 ½ to 2 cups of tomato sauce. Top with approximately 8 to 10 slices of good quality mozzarella and 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Garnish with mini pepperonis.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until the dish is completely heated, 20 to 30 minutes.
If you wish to brown the top, remove the foil and place the dish briefly under the broiler. Garnish with fresh basil and serve with a steak knife. Enjoy!
*Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is quite pricy and can be substituted with a good quality parmesan cheese.
Secret Ingredient – Fun. “Never underestimate the importance of having fun.”
— Randy Pausch