CLASSIC ROCK BANDS RECIPE #4
VEAL SCALLOPINE WITH WHITE PORT AND LEMON JUICE (WPLJ) SAUCE
This was the original recipe for the series of Classic Rock recipes that I conceived several years ago. My intention was to possibly sell the idea to Rolling Stone Magazine or to a couple of local classic rock radio stations in the area but neither seemed very interested. Those of you from the New York Metro area like myself remember that sad time in the early eighties when WPLJ 95.5FM changed its format from what we now refer to as Classic Rock to Pop 40 as it’s now known. You may also remember the call letters were akin to the opening track of The Mothers of Invention album Burnt Weeny Sandwich from 1969. The song entitled, WPLJ, which does in fact stand for white port and lemon juice, was used to spell out the call letters for the station on a lot of its promos during the seventies.
This was the inspiration for me to proceed with this series. If you’ve never tried it I encourage you to do so. The white port and lemon juice cocktail is a delicious summertime drink. I recommend a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice to white port, add as much powdered sugar as you like to taste, and a whole lot of ice to your pitcher or glass. If you want to jazz it up a bit you can add some mint leaves and a little grenadine if you like but it’s just as tasty without. As a reduction sauce it makes a nice, complex compliment to meat and pasta similar to a Marsala or Madeira sauce but more flavorful.
I know some readers are opposed to eating veal or just don’t care for the taste and this is fine. Like any scallopine style dish you can substitute chicken, turkey, or pork cutlets very easily in this recipe. I don’t add mushrooms here as you would in a Marsala sauce as I believe the sauce is rich, sweet, and savory on its own and not complicated. It’s a perfect metaphor for the legendary Frank Zappa who was a “take me for what I am” type of guy. His piercing social commentary, offensive lyrics and rebellious nature made him a turn off to a lot of people but if you strip it down he was one of the most talented musicians and songwriters who ever graced the Classic Rock N Roll platform. A technically, masterful guitarist who blended jazz and rock together that is still innovative to this day. This twisted take on a classic Italian-American dish is for you Frank!
1 lb. Thinly sliced Veal, Chicken, Turkey, or Pork Cutlets
½ cup All-purpose Flour
1 TSP Salt plus more to taste
½ TSP Ground Black Pepper plus more to taste
3 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Unsalted Butter
1 Shallot finely chopped
1 Garlic clove finely copped
1/3 cup White Port
½ cup Chicken or Veal Stock
2 Lemons each cut in half
1 TSP Honey
2 TBSP Fresh Tarragon leaves delicately chopped
- On a plate, spread the flour out and add the Salt and Black Pepper and mix together
- Rub each Cutlet in the flour mixture shaking off the excess and put on a separate plate
- Heat the Olive Oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat
- Fry each Cutlet until cooked all the way through, about 3 minutes per side depending on the thickness, remove the Cutlets from the pan and move to a separate plate, turn the heat off. Do not clean or wipe down the pan.
- In the same pan, over low heat, melt the butter
- When the butter melts add the Shallot and fry about 30 seconds to 1 minute
- Add the Garlic and fry another 30 seconds
- Add the White Port, turn up the heat to medium-high, and deglaze the pan scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan and letting them melt into the sauce. Reduce to about half. About 2 minutes.
- Add the Stock and the juice of 3 Lemon halves using a sieve or cheesecloth so no pits get into the sauce
- Allow the sauce to reduce a little then add the Honey and a little Salt and Pepper to taste
- Reduce till the contents are a nice saucy consistency. Turn off the heat.
- Add the Cutlets back to the pan to coat
- Garnish with as much of the chopped Tarragon as you like
Serve over linguine with the extra sauce. If the sauce is too thick add a little pasta water to thin out and/or don’t reduce the sauce quite as much if serving over pasta.
WINE PAIRING: This is a little complicated to find the right match as the flavors of this dish are complex. It is always easier to pair white wine with food than red and the sauce lends itself to that theorem. Yet white meat still pairs better with red and the sauce is bold enough to scream red too. I would rule out serving this recipe with any red varietal. A compromise would certainly be in order so a Rosé would be a good choice but only a very good one from the Tavel region in Provence to match the richness of the flavors. My recommendation would be a Gewürztraminer from the Alsace region or a blend of Gewürztraminer and a heavier grape like Chardonnay that I have seen some producers in the Americas do. These are great food wines that pair well with complex dishes like this week’s recipe.
Enjoy everybody! NEW SERIES COMING THIS FRIDAY! Please check the website every day.