Having been pleased at the outcome of our fried and grilled calves liver recipe, I wanted to go back and try the more conventional approach. We had reverted to grilling the meat after initial frying as the temperature of our plancha/pan had really not been hot enough when we added the liver. The situation had been made worse because (more…)
This is a liver dish that you may well enjoy even if you don’t like liver! Better still it is one of those perfect dishes that comes about when something didn’t go according to plan in the cooking. Here it was the ‘rescue’ that made the dish – and it is now a fixed part of the way we cook calves liver on the Big Green Egg. As someone who likes liver in various forms I find it just a little strange that there are as many people who don’t like it as there are those of us who do. And rather like with marmite, people don’t sit on the fences, but polarise into one camp or the other! Don’t stop reading now though, this may just be the dish that wins you over if you are a doubter! (more…)
We were very lucky to be able to go back to the restaurant La Scottiglia in Pescina near Seggiano in Tuscany. Last year, 2018, we wrote about the wonderful dish La Scottiglia that the restaurant has been named after since 1972. This year we arrived early for a Saturday lunch and were welcomed like long lost friends by the owner. He immediately started to talk about the recipe and blog we had written last year when we had tried to recreate La Scottiglia (see here). He offered his congratulations for our efforts and his apologies for not writing something on the website as it would have been difficult to do so in English!
We were shown down to the terrace so we could eat outside in the dappled early autumn sunshine and were immediately met with a Prosecco aperitif, clearly we were going to have a good lunch!
The menus were newly printed and now carried English translations which was nice. More staggering was that on the back page was a new description of the history of the restaurant. We were pleased that the information that we had managed to piece together from the internet seemed to be largely correct – if only it has been present before it would have saved us hours of searching (but then, where is the fun in that!!).
Jackie ordered a Tuscan Pâté, and then ricotta filled Tortellini with truffles. For a main course I had the wild boar – but for my starter there could only be one choice – La Scottiglia. It was with a degree of ‘bated breath’ I tried it – had we got close with our recipe or had I deluded myself? I needn’t have worried (too much)!! Our interpretation was close, though not identical! This was ‘softer’ with a little more liquid. I think there was just a slight hint of chilli which ours did not have and probably a little less tomato. Also the bread at the bottom of the dish was thinner – and had soaked up less of the glorious juices. So overall a slightly more ‘gentle’ taste than ours – but I think we can be pleased as we have only been making it for a year rather than for more than a century! I think we can be reasonably comfortable that ours was a suitable ‘homage’ to this most regional of dishes!
And our plans for this autumn ……………….. to get closer still!!
Osso bucco is a classic Italian dish which, as long as you don’t translate it into English (bones with holes), has lovely romantic overtones and memories of Italian holidays. The dish is based on slow braised veal, but the bones, or more importantly the marrow from those bones, adds a delicious something else to this dish – whatever you do – make sure that the bones do go back to the kitchen ‘hollow’ with anything that still resides in their centres after cooking eaten and relished. The dish can also (more…)
Making terrines is something of a lost art in the UK and we are venturing into this area quite tentatively. I have to say most of our experience has been in the indoor kitchen and not in the BGE. As I have found a very inexpensive small Le Creuset oval casserole, on eBay, that just fitted the mini BGE – I was going to see what opportunities it opens up when traveling with the mini BGE. – Was a terrine a possibility?
The plan was to use our standard home recipe – but clearly modified for the products around us. The basis of our standard recipe is minced pork shoulder, diced bacon (more…)
Well one thing is certain, Italians like veal! It is so much easier to buy veal in Italy than we have found at home. This is a real shame as the UK Rose Veal probably has the highest welfare standards (more…)
So our first experiment with the Italian Veal had worked well and so on to the Vitello Tonnato – As this dish is served cold it can easily be produced 24-48 hours in advance and I think will have some real “mileage” not just here on holiday but back home – in the summer but also in those lovely autumn evenings before the real “cold weather” sets in.
For this dish we were using the bigger portion of veal silverside. We would cook it whole let it cool and then slice thinly as the basis of the dish
The first thing to do was remove the “silverskin”. There is often a layer of connective tissue on meat like silverside which when cooked adds nothing to the quality or taste of the meat and can often just leave an unpleasant “chewy finish”. It is a bit of a fiddle and requires getting a sharp knife under the silverskin and then working it between the silverskin and the meat itself – rather like when skinning fish. This silverskin can then just be discarded.
Lightly dust the veal all over with a rub – ours was from necessity very simple. Salt. pepper, sweet paprika and some mixed herbs. The meat was put to one side whilst the Big Green Egg was lit and came up to a temperature of 100C. The set up was for an indirect cook with the platesetter feet upwards and with a handful of Hickory wood chips which had been soaking sprinkled just outside the burning charcoal centre.
We were using the cast-iron grill as this was the only one we had brought with us though at home I would probably have used the stainless steel grill.
The veal took around an hour to reach an internal temperature of 52C. I would normally test this with a ETI Thermapen but as we were ‘traveling light’ we relied on the rather neat “iGrill” mini” – a relatively inexpensive bluetooth indwelling temperature probe. see http://smokedfinefood.co.uk/chicken/spatchcock-in-the-beechwood/
Whilst the veal was cooking it was time to make the the tuna sauce. A 160g can of tuna and one tablespoon of capers were drained. The capers roughly chopped (classically the whole mix would have been blended – but we were on holiday and therefore we went for the “rustic approach”!) The tuna and chopped capers, were mixed with 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise and the juice of ½ lemon. This was seasoned with salt and pepper left in the fridge until needed.
To serve the vitello tonnato, the veal was sliced into neat thin slices and served on a bed of green salad, dressed with local olive oil and capers. The plate was garnished with the tonnato sauce and finished off with a drizzle of lemon juice – next time we will probably add some grated lemon zest too. Traditionally, Vitelli tomato is usually served as a single layer of veal with the slightly more fluid tonnato sauce spread over the top and then garnished with lemon. I know I am biased – but I think this version looks better!!
….… buon appetito!
Footnote: the Tonnato sauce also works beautifully with pork – see Pork Loin with Tuna and Caper Sauce – Lonza di mail Tonnato
Vitello Tonnato - with a twist!
Cold roasted veal with a tuna sauce dressing
- 750g Veal Silverside
- Olive Oil
- Green Salad
- For the Rub
- Salt, pepper, sweet paprika, dried herbs
- For the Tonnato Sauce
- A 160g can of tuna
- One tablespoon of capers
- 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- The juice of ½ lemon
- Step 1 Remove the “silverskin” from the veal using a Sharpe knife and discarded.
- Step 2 Lightly dust the veal all over with a rub
- Step 3 Set up the Big Green Egg for indirect cooking with some added Hickory chips for a little smoky flavour
- Step 4 When the temperature stabilises at 100C sit the veal on the grill and monitor the internal temperature with an indwelling probe
- Step 5 Once the veal reaches an internal temperature of 52C remove from the grill, wrap in foil and leave to cool in the fridge
- Step 6 To make the Tonnato Sauce – Drain a 160g can of tuna. Roughly chop one tablespoon of capers and mix the the tuna and 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise and the juice of ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper left and leave in the fridge until needed.
- Step 7 To serve the vitello tonnato – thinly slice the veal and serve on a bed of green salad dressed with olive oil and capers. Garnish with the tonnato sauce and finished off with a drizzle of lemon juice and some grated lemon zest.
One thing we wanted to experiment with was Vitello Tonnato – a classic Italian dish served cold – this has the advantage that you can prepare in advance and is ready just when you want it. Our version was going to have a little twist on the classical Italian version – but before that a little shopping and some experimentation was needed! The first confession is that I have never knowingly cooked veal and certainly never on the BGE! So the first thing was to track down the veal. As we were approaching the Italian holiday of Ferragosto – on the 15th of August there was a good chance of finding some reasonably easily! We were hunting for what is in effect a veal silverside – which is used to make veal escalope – but the plan was to cook it whole let it go cold and slice it very thinly!!
Well we found a piece of veal – but just one and a little large for the 2 of us at 1Kg! but this gave the opportunity for some experimentation! We cut off about a quarter, removed the “silverskin” then added a little “rub”. We were limited with what we had to hand, so tried simple salt and pepper, a little paprika and some dried herbs. The piece of veal was going to be served hot with a lightly spiced Italian sauage, with a green salad. The BGE was set up to cook indirectly with the platesetter feet up and the cast iron grill on top and was brought up to just 130-140C. The sausages were popped on first as we wanted those cooked through and then was joined after about 10 mins by the veal with the temperature probe sitting in the centre of the meat. The plan was to cook it till it just reached a core temperature of 52C which should be around medium rare. Meanwhile a “Tonnato sauce” was made – not normally served with hot meat it did give the opportunity to experiment a little (and I have to say it does go well with hot meat!! )– for the recipe – see Vitello Tonnato. Once the veal had reached 52C it was taken off the grill and wrapped in foil to rest for around 10 mins. When the veal was sliced there was just a touch of pink, slightly less than I would have chosen suggesting that the core temperature of the meat continued to rise when it was resting – note to self for next time!!
However, served with the salad and the Tonnato sauce with just a little of the meat juice that collected in the aluminium foil spooned onto the veal – it was looking good! The veal was tender, very lightly smoky and the outside of the meat had a little tang from the paprika and white pepper
– simply delicious!!
Roasted veal with grilled Italian Sausage
- 300g Veal Silverside
- 2 lightly spiced Italian sausage
- Salt and pepper
- Dried herbs
- Serve with a Green salad and a Tonnato sauce
- Step 1 Removed the “silverskin” from the veal and add a little “rub” of salt and pepper, a little paprika and some dried herbs.
- Step 2 Set the BGE to cook indirectly with the platesetter feet up and the cast iron grill on top. Bring the temperature up to just 130-140C.
- Step 3 Add the sausages to the grill
- Step 4 After about 10 mins add the veal – cook to a core temperature of 52C (or perhaps a little less)
- Step 5 Once the veal had reached the target temperature take off the grill and wrap in foil to rest for around 10 mins.
- Step 6 Serve a salad and Tonnato sauce with just a little of the meat juice spooned onto the veal