Veal scallops with cream and mushrooms
This classic French dish is usually made with white mushrooms, but if fresh wild mushrooms like chanterelles or porcinis are available, they will boost it from special to spectacular.
To wash wild mushrooms without bruising them, I use … my salad spinner. First soak the mushrooms briefly in lukewarm water. Then gently remove them to the spinner’s basket, being careful not to include any grass or bits of leaves. Now gently spin the basket to remove excess water.
2 veal scallops (about 150 grams/1/3 pound each)
6 large or 12 medium fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
3 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. crème fraîche or heavy cream
1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh dill or cilantro (optional)
First prepare the mushrooms: wash, trim the bottoms, slice. In a saucepan, heat 1 tsp. olive oil. When it is sizzling, add the mushrooms and let them cook over a high flame, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to make sure they don’t burn. Add the garlic halves.
When the mushrooms begin to brown, turn down the heat. They will give off and resorb their juices. Remove the garlic halves, turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Now the veal. If the meat is thicker than 5 mm (1/4 inch), flatten it before cooking by placing each scallop on a board and pounding with a rolling pin.
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil or another cooking oil in a frying pan. Add the veal scallops. Cook over a high flame for 2-3 minutes per side.
Add the mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Now add the cream, stirring with a wooden spatula to incorporate all the drippings from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon juice, tasting for sharpness — the sauce should be tangy but not sour.
Remove the scallops and mushrooms to a serving platter. If you are using a fresh herb like dill, snip it over the veal. Serve immediately, accompanied by a side dish like steamed fresh green beans, rice or small pasta. I would recommend red wine like Bordeaux with this dish. Serves 2.
Here’s an option for special occasions: omit the lemon juice and instead add a couple tablespoons of brandy — cognac, armagnac, whatever — while cooking the veal. The right time to do this is once the meat is cooked on both sides and before you add the mushrooms. Pour in the brandy, stir with a wooden spatula to mix it with the drippings in the bottom of the pan, let it bubble for a few moments so that the alcohol can evaporate, and then proceed as described above.
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