VEAL IS a luxury meat; it has an elegance not found in beef, lamb or pork. This is partly due to its delicate flavor and its tenderness and partly due to its lending itself to such a large variety of preparations. Unfortunately, most people feel it is a luxury meat because of the price, which for the cuts called for in most recipes is exorbitant. Even though there is little or no waste, veal cutlet, scallop or tenderloin -- at a cost of $7-plus a pound -- is not affordable for most families these days.
However, veal can be more affordable. Because it is slaughtered young, all the meat is tender. In Europe, where the calf is slaughtered while still in the milk-fed stage, it is especially tender, but even in this country, it is slaughtered very early in the grass and grain feeding stage, long before muscles and sinews are toughened. So one can take all the recipes calling for cutlets, scallops or tenderloin and substitute less expensive cuts.
Veal shoulder or arm steak are $4.50 or $5 a pound. These cuts have only the small bone, no other waste, and usually are cut a half-inch or more thick.
If the butcher won't or can't cut it thinner for you, take it home and put it into the freezer until just crisp and firm, then put your hand flat on top of the meat and with a sharp knife cut it across into slices the thickness called for in your recipe. If you have it already frozen, let it defrost to the point where it will take a knife. VEAL SCALLOPS WITH MADEIRA (6 servings) 1 1/2 pounds veal scallops, made by slicing shoulder or arm steaks into 1/4-inch thick slices and then pounded thin 1/3 cup flour 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese Salt and Pepper 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 2 cups sliced mushrooms 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cloves garlic, sliced 1/2 cup chicken stock 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup madeira 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Spread meat on waxed paper. Combine flour, cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Sprinkle 1/2 of this mixture on the veal and press in well with the palm of the hand, turn and do the same to the second side with the remaining mixture.
Saute mushrooms in butter or margarine for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from pan. Add oil to the pan and saute the garlic for 2 minutes without browning it, then put in the veal slices, being careful not to crowd them and brown lightly on both sides. Add more butter and oil if necessary to keep from sticking. Remove and discard slices of garlic. Add stock, white wine, and madeira. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Return mushrooms to pan and simmer another 5 minutes. Arrange slices on a platter, spoon the sauce over all and sprinkle the parsley on top. Serve with rice pilaf. This dish may be made well in advance and reheated. It freezes well. VEAL FLAVORED WITH TARRAGON (6 servings) 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons minced shallots or scallions 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of veal (shoulder or arm cuts sliced 1/4 inch thick, then pounded thin) Salt to taste 5 tablespoons tarragon vinegar 1 1/2 to 2 cups heavy cream Freshly ground pepper
Put butter and oil into skillet over medium heat. When it is hot and bubbly put in the minced shallots and slices of veal. Do not crowd the veal. Cook on both sides until brown. Remove the veal from the pan and salt to taste. Pour the tarragon vinegar into the pan, swirl it around and stir with a wooden spoon to pick up all the brown bits. Boil rapidly until it is reduced by 1/3. Pour in the cream, again boil vigorously until reduced by 1/3 and slightly thickened. Grind on a generous amount of pepper. Pour the sauce over the veal.
This can be made in advance. The meat must then be put into the sauce and the whole reheated. If the sauce is too liquid for your taste, or for ease of serving, you may thicken it with a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in a bit of cool cream. Serve with rice pilaf, a vegetable and salad. VEAL ZURICHOISE (6 servings) 1 1/2 pounds veal shoulder, rump or other inexpensive cut. Flour for dredging the veal 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil 1 large onion, minced 2 cups sliced mushrooms 1 1/2 cups dry white wine 1 cup heavy cream
Freeze veal partially then cut across the grain in very thin, about 1/8 inch slices. Dredge the veal slivers lightly with flour. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. Put the veal and minced onion and saute until golden. Add the sliced mushrooms and cover and cook on low heat for 4 minutes. Now gradually pour in the white wine, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover closely and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and allow to boil up until slightly thickened. May be made in advance and reheated. Freezes well. Serve with potatoes rostie, as the Swiss do, or with fluffy boiled rice. VEAL PARMIGIANA (6 servings) 1 medium-sized eggplant, sliced 1/4-inch thick. Oil for frying eggplant 6 medium-size, fresh tomatoes or equivalent amount of canned tomatoes 2 large onions, chopped fine 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced 1 1/2 to 2 pounds veal shoulder steaks, cut into serving pieces 1/3- to 1/2-inch thick Flour for dredging, seasoned with salt and pepper 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced Sauce (recipe follows) 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Sprinkle eggplant slices generously with salt and let stand for 1/2 hour. Drain well and pat dry. Daute in 1/4-inch hot oil until translucent and tender. Drain on absorbent paper. Cut the tomatoes in thick slices and add to the pan along with onions and garlic. Drain off excess oil, leaving just enough to cook tomatoes, the onion and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes. arrange the eggplant slices in the bottom of a large shallow baking dish and cover with the tomato mixture.
Now dredge the veal lightly in seasoned flour. Add a little butter and oil to the pan and saute the veal until brown on both sides. Arrange veal slices on top of the vegetables. Cover the veal with slices of mozzarella. Pour the sauce over all and sprinkle the entire surface with the parmesan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly on top. Serve directly from the dish. May be made in advance and reheated. It freezes well. Sauce: 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 1/2 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 cup chicken stock or boullion 2/3 cup red wine
Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan, blend in flour with a wire whisk and then slowly stir in the tomato paste, stock and wine. Simmer, continuing to stir with the whisk, until smooth and slightly thickened.