Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Veal Involtini

Again, this brings me back to my early childhood sitting at my Grandfather's kitchen table while he prepared his take on Italian Classics. The Kitchen was small and so was the table. In those days (60 & 70's) everyone used their kitchen table as their prep area. 

My Grandfather on my Dad's side was the epitome of everything Italian and Sicilian. Adding to this stereotype of course was the fact he owned a bar too. I am not kidding either. The Co-Owner of the bar was......let's just say he was an unsavory type. The Bar was called the Queens Bar. Everyone in the neighborhood hung out at the bar. And yes before you ask it was a hangout for the "M". Poppi (that's what we called my Grandfather) made a lot of food for the bar and everyone loved eating there. It was not a restaurant mind you but a dark and gloomy bar. Anyhow he just loved to cook and share his food and that's what he did. Oh and he never charged anyone for his food either. Anyhow more on that at a later time.  

Although my fond childhood memories serves as a platform for this dish Poppi made the traditional Braciola which is braised (or at least his was). Note: the Involtini name is the Italian name and the Braciola is the American name for virtually the same dish. Based on what I know all Braciolas are braised and Involtini can be both braised and fried. 

This is not exactly a recipe but something I threw together quickly because Veal Scallopini was available. In the NW this is not a common meat to have on the shelves so when it's available.... BUY BUY. Just a note about this meat. I could have used very thin cut top round meat but it would have made for a very tough Involtini. If I was going to make a traditional Braciola it would have been fine of course due to the braising. 

I took a one gallon bag and cut it open on all the sides but one. This technique is great for pounding out meat. Before you pound out the meat add just a little bit of moisture to the veal that way it will spread out inside the plastic without tearing. 

Take a medium onion or shallots whatever you have on hand, salt, pepper, red pepper, herbs etc. Saute until slightly browned. 

To a small food processor (or whatever) puree to a medium texture Sun-dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Parsley. 

Toast some pine nuts and set aside. 

Toss the above mixture in skillet containing Onions and saute for a few minutes. Add your toasted pine nuts and you're done. Don't forget to taste the food and adjust where needed. 

Toss everything in a bowl and let cool slightly before proceeding to next step. 

Add an egg to bind and some cream for extra fatty goodness. Add some breadcrumbs too. 

Let's not forget the cheese (Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano are my two favorites). Add your favorite Balsamic Vinegar and your done. 

Choose your favorite Salumi and get ready to roll them up. 

Add  the cooled mixture you created and top with some additional cheese. 

Roll these babies up into cute bundles of joy. Note: Involtini (diminutive form of involti) means little bundles. 

Crack a few eggs and season to your heart's delight. 

Do the same thing to the AP flour and italian bread crumbs. I like adding cheese and parsley to the breadcrumbs among other goodies. 

I only have two hands and they were messy which explains why I don't have additional photos. So how do you bread these little bundles? I am assuming you have basic kitchen skills so I will keep this short. Flour the bundles first, Dip in egg and get a good coating on them, then bread them making sure to tuck in all the meat to create a football like shape. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 45 minutes before proceeding. 

Fry until golden brown (Olive Oil is my preference). During the frying process I like to scoop hot oil on top of the bundles which promotes even browning. 

Drain on paper towels.
Plate... Had I had Cognac I would have made a cream sauce too. Dang next time.