In just a few more months, I will have written this column 100 times. I still love doing it, but sometimes it's really a stretch to come up with a new recipe that hasn't been published somewhere else.
I thought I had exhausted my store of my recipes a long time ago. In addition to trying and adjusting my own culinary brainstorms, I have been relying on friends and readers to help me along with some of their fa vorites. Then one evening I decided to make my version of veal scaloppine. With a start, I realized I have nev er put this one in my column. Lucky you! It's easy and delicious.
First, I prefer not to use veal for three reasons: Veal is very pricey, I don't like the way veal calves are raised, and pork tenderloin makes such an excellent and inexpensive substitute. It's also so easy to work with, and it's the leanest meat around. I think it would be hard to tell the difference between the taste of my scaloppine and one made with veal.
For two people, half of one small tenderloin will make plenty. (A large tenderloin weighs about a pound, so look for a smaller one.) Cut it into half-inch slices. Place them on a piece of plastic wrap on the counter, spacing them a couple of inches apart. Put another sheet of plastic wrap on top of the first. Then pound each slice until it is about a quarter-inch thick. Pick up the plastic wrap package with the meat inside and turn it over. Pound the pieces a second time until they are uniformly thin - less than a quarter-inch. Be gentle with your pounding as this meat is named tenderloin for a reason.
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Put a half-cup or so of flour on a flat dish and dredge each patty in it. Set them aside on a tray or cutting board.
In a large saute pan, drizzle in some cooking oil along with a pat of butter. The butter will help the scalloped meat to brown. Heat until a drop of water sizzles and begin adding the tenderloin patties. Salt and pepper them on each side as they cook. (Alternatively, I like to use
Cavender's Greek seasoning found in all the local supermarkets.) It just takes two or three minutes to lightly brown each side.
Remove browned pieces to a serving dish and cover. Add a little more oil and butter if needed to complete the sauteing process. When the pieces are all done, pour in a round of white wine. (A round means you go around the pan one time while pouring the wine.) A slightly sweeter wine such as a Riesling or even an inexpensive Rhine wine is better than a Chardonnay with strong oak tones.
Allow the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all of that wonderful brown fond from the bottom of the pan. Add another pat of butter if you like for flavor. Add a tablespoon of capers. Simmer until reduced by half or more. Taste the sauce and adjust with salt or pepper if needed. If you want the sauce to be thicker, shake up a tablespoon of cornstarch and a half-cup of water in a small plastic container and slowly drizzle into the pan, stirring until it reaches the desired thickness.
Just before you are ready to serve, add the meat back into the pan to reheat it. Add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice and stir into the sauce. Don't overcook the lemon juice, as it can become quite bitter.
This is a perfect companion dish for a batch of beautiful green asparagus, oiled, salted and roasted in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Add a crusty loaf of bread and the leftover wine used in the scallopine dish to the meal and you have a simply wonderful spring supper.
Karyn Lindberg has called Olympia home since 1988. She is passionate about cooking and entertaining. She believes good recipes are meant to be shared. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Plain, unseasoned pork tenderloin
Light white wine
Salt & pepper or Greek seasoning