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When Life Hands You Ground Veal

November 14, 2017

Maintaining a daily food blog while growing the local Yelp community has been a challenge.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the daily posts are going up later in the day than they had in the past. That’s a problem I need to fix. Perhaps there are more typographic errors in my daily musing too. It’s certainly likely, since with a delayed posting schedule, fewer essays are getting a second set of eyes from Mrs. Fussy.

I’ve also been told that the content is getting further away from my core mission of improving the local food scene, and focusing more on the trivial and tangential. Those criticisms aren’t wrong. They are hard to hear, but I recognize the truth in them.

That said, I continue to find the FLB a fun and worthwhile pastime, so it persists.

But it’s not just the blog that’s been suffering from the demands of the job and the requirements of everyday life. Home cooking and family dinner isn’t quite what it used to be either. I haven’t even had the chance to leaf through “Sara Moulton Cooks at Home” which I’m hoping will have some quick weeknight meal ideas.

However, thanks to the New York Beef Council, I have a new go-to dish in rotation.

Part of the Beef Together Blogger Tour was visiting an upstate veal farm, and the next day I got to play around with ground veal in the kitchen and make an incredibly delicious veal slider. However, the recipe I followed was pretty intense, and not one I would make on a weeknight for the kids.

Plus, veal is on the pricier sides when it comes to proteins, so my instinct is to extend it as much as possible and use it to its best effect.

At the end of the blogger tour, everyone was sent home with two pounds of ground veal to encourage a bit of experimentation, and see what we would come up with when left to our own devices.

Would you believe that Marcella Hazan has a simple veal pasta sauce?

I’ll let you check out the full recipe over on epicurious.com but I can tell you that it was delicious. The secret to something so simple, is making sure your ingredients are top notch. That means using great butter, shelling out for the San Marzano tomatoes, and breaking out the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

It also means making sure that your salt levels are right. Keep tasting. If it’s bland, add a bit more salt. Then taste again. And salt more if needed.

The resulting veal sauce is one of those pasta coating types of sauces. It’s Italian and not Italian-American, so this preparation does not result in a pile of macaroni topped with an avalanche of gravy crowning the plate. Everything is incorporated and tossed together. At the table, feel free to shower your plate with grated parm and fresh ground black pepper if you like.

Having read the comments from some people who didn’t enjoy the recipe, I felt like the above warning was required.

What I can tell you is that both the kids and Mrs. Fussy enjoyed this dish. I can tell you that the sauce freezes well. You may even want to consider making this with two pounds of ground veal at a time.

It’s buttery as hell, but that’s one of the things that makes it so delicious. And if you are looking for ground veal locally, I’ve seen it at Whole Foods. Just call ahead before you go, because they don’t always have it. But if they do, then it’s up to their animal welfare standards.

Speaking of which, I got to see one of the farms that supplies Whole Foods with veal, and I left impressed. Was it ideal? Not quite. But the farmer recognized where things could be improved and was working toward making it even better. And having seen the operation first hand, I have fewer qualms about veal production than I might have in the past.

But that’s a story for another day.

One Comment leave one →
  1. EPT permalink
    November 15, 2017 9:00 am

    I’d like to see your opinion on the topic of butter. I use a lot of butter and have tried a ton of different ones. For me, one that stands out is President from France, ingredients, cream and salt (if you prefer the salted variety).

    BTW, I’m not trying to hijack your post, one of our favorite dishes is homemade gnocchi with a veal bolognese. Aside from ground veal, unfortunately, most veal cut from the leg is with the grain which makes it shrink and tough when sauteed. Any sources of properly butchered veal?

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