Foiled At The Liquor Store…Or Was I?

Yesterday began with me determined to fiddle with a Japanese inspired chicken recipe that I found in the NY Times. The marinade looked easy and like something my all my family would happily eat. What’s not to love about a little soy sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar and sake…and grilled chicken on skewers? And, given that my children have been on the vacation diet with a preponderance of all of their favorite foods (read pizza), I was thrilled to push the envelope a little.

So, I headed downtown to our two liquor stores in search of sake-the only ingredient not already in my pantry. I tried one, no go; I walked around the corner to the other; nope…no sake. My cell phone started to ring as I was being shot down in the second store. It was Susan calling to invite Harrison to dinner and a movie with their family. She, hearing my dilemma, ever so smartly, suggested trying to buy some from the local Japanese restaurant. So, off I went to said sushi joint. Sadly, they cared more about their liquor license then my recipe- I was officially out of luck.

But, while I hadn’t found sake and would need a new plan for dinner, I had lost a child-my pickiest eater-for dinnertime; and suddenly, the options opened up. It was a gray and slightly rainy day here and one that demanded comfort food. I walked into the butcher shop not sure what I was going to do. There in the case were beautiful scallops of veal-and they spoke to me. “Take me home,” they cooed. “Veal Marsala…Veal Marsala…Veal Marsala,” they chanted. Plan B was formed.

At dinnertime, I made the veal with its’ luscious mushroom sauce and put it before Julia. At first she resisted. But then, under the threat of no ice cream for dessert, she dove in. “Hey,” she said, “this is pretty good. Can I have more?’ She did not even balk at the mushrooms. So, while the sake recipe has to wait for another day, I am reminded of the old adage “when doors close, windows open…” I’ll take this window anytime!

Veal Marsala
Serves 4

12-16 veal scallops- depending on size. (Note that the will shrink when cooked)
1 ½ lbs mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ c flour
sea salt/pepper
3 T butter
3 T olive oil
¾ c Marsala

In a large sauté pan on medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the shallots and garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms soften and the liquid they emit evaporates, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the flour with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the veal in the flour and set aside.

Remove the mushrooms from the sauté pan to a bowl and set aside.

Add the olive oil to the pan and allow it to get hot. Place the veal in the pan, cooking in batches and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Note: veal scallops cook very quickly.

Remove the scallops from the pan to a serving platter.

Add the Marsala to the pan and cook, being sure to stir all the brown bits into the wine. Let cook for a minute or so. Return the mushroom mixture back into the sauté pan and heat through. Pour the sauce on top of the veal and serve immediately.

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