Saturday, November 15, 2014

Veal Piccata

Three weeks ago I underwent surgery for a rotator cuff tear. I am here to tell you that the cure is worse than the injury. My shoulder hurts all of the time and I have very limited use of my right arm. I wear workout clothes all of the time because I cannot put on a belt. I can't lift anything over 8 ounces with my right arm. But there is light at the end of the tunnel....I start physical therapy this week. They tell me that will wrap up by next March. Be still my heart.

After surgery, they put me on a pain relief regimen of morphine and oxycodone. I am here to tell you that the pills are worse than the surgery pain.  I was in an absolute fog and could not function with those meds in my body. I quit the drugs after two days and just decided to suck up the pain as a small price to pay for having a clear head.

During my recovery, cooking has been a challenge as I basically have to do everything with my left hand. Can't do pasta as I can't lift the pot. Can't use my slow cooker as I can't lift it off the shelf. So I've become expert at one-handed meals. This Williams Sonoma recipe for Veal Piccata is one of my very favorite one-handed meals. All you need is a pan and a spatula and one good hand.

You can easily substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. But I really like the delicate, nuanced flavor of veal for this dish. Veal makes the dish extra special...this could easily be a special occasion dinner for company. And better yet, it takes less than 10 minutes to make. This recipe serves four and I like to serve it with steamed green beans, which I make in the microwave oven using my left hand.

8 veal scallops, about 1 1/2 lb. total, pounded about 1/4 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chervil


  1. Cook the veal: Season the veal with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter. Add half of the veal and cook, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and the remaining veal. Be careful not to overcook. 
  2. Make the sauce: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and wine and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom, until the sauce is reduced by about one-fourth, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the capers and simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Return the veal and any juices to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Divide the veal among individual plates, spoon the sauce over it and serve immediately. 

Wine pairing: A nice California Merlot, poured with your left hand.

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