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The Perfect Veal Chop

Updated on January 7, 2010

For my New Year's Resolution this year I promised myself to try to go vegetarian, a very hard feat for a genuine foodie.  So I went all out for the Christmas season, a sort of last supper in a way.  Here's a start to my favorite recipes and places to revel in before banishment:

Oven Roasted Veal Chop

Since I've been traveling quite a bit lately and not able to cook as often as I like to I decided to make one of my favorite dishes while I was home. Now I know veal is probably one of the least favorable choices, ethically speaking, however if you have ever had veal at George V or L'Ami Jean in Paris you would know what makes this controversial delicacy something I choose to overlook in order to relish in gastronomic bliss for an evening once in a very long while. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due to the chef at George V in Paris years back when I was treated to a birthday lunch and discovered this simple yet perfect way of serving côte de veau. Any dislike or dissatisfaction of the often tough, chewy slab of poorly cooked veal that one might be used to will melt away with the first tender and juicy bite to hit your palate.

*To achieve the best results it's is always suggested to try to find the most sustainably raised products you can find and afford. I always make sure the meat I use comes from cattle raised on pasture and that feed by grazing (grass) and not grain fed on a feed lot. I know in the US it's not always easy but this is a conscious decision that will be better for you, the animal and the earth.

Thickly cut Veal Chop (usually 2.5 - 3" for 2 - 3 people) If you have a good butcher that will cut the meat for you this is really the only way to have this. You can also ask them to tie a string around the chop so that it keeps it's form during cooking.
Fleur de Sell or Gros Sell
2 Tb Olive or Grapeseed Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic (en chemise - kept in their skins)
2 Sprigs of Thyme
Good Butter
Stock or Fond de Veau(optional)
Parmesan Shavings

2 hours prior sprinkle the meat lightly on both sides with the salt, only use fleur de sell or gros sell.
Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C.
Preferably in a roasting dish or cocotte heat the oil and when the oil is hot enough (but not smoking) add the veal on one side, cook about 2-3 minutes just to brown slightly and then turn over and do the same for the other side.
Once both sides have a nice color to them toss in the garlic and thyme to the pan and rest a tablespoon of butter on top of the veal.
Lower the oven to 360 F/180 C and transfer the pan or cocotte, uncovered, to the low temperature oven.
Now here is where you need to know your oven. Is it accurate? If it is the veal shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes. If it's not or if it's electric it will probably take longer. I usually check after 15 minutes and if it isn't (good indicators are a certain give that the meat will have when you press the back on a fork on the top, otherwise make a small incision into the meat in the center on the top, not too deep though). I like mine cooked to rose or medium-medium rare. If it's not done then turn the veal over and add another small piece of butter and you could add a little stock or water if it seems dry in the pan. If there are juices from the oil, butter and veal (which there should be) then spoon that over the veal from time to time.

Finally when the meat is done take it out of the pan and let it rest on a grill or cutting board for 5 minutes (some say 10 but if you don't have a heat lamp it will get cold). The reason to let the veal sit is so the juice settle inside and doesn't run out when the meat is cut.
Slice into 3/4"/1.5cm slices and arrange on the plates or leave on a board.
Now here comes the secret touch that will forever change the way you eat veal or for those like me will keep your memories tasty; Parmesan shavings, they will transform the veal completely. Place enough shavings on each slice of veal, enough to have a shaving for each bite.
Bon Appetit!

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