Saturday, September 11, 2010

Too much information! Or how Kate found what was in front of her the whole time

Back in the earlier days of the World Wide Web, I'd come across a great recipe for chicken marsala. It wasn't difficult, but tasted like it had taken lots of preparation, in other words one of my favorite types of recipe.

It was on a page of low-carbohydrate recipes, but I couldn't remember the URL. The site had no distinguishing graphics, it was all text. So I went searching.

A Google search for chicken marsala results in 293,000 recipes. Even if I didn't have a full-time job and a life, I couldn't go through all those in a reasonable amount of time. But I did look at quite a few.

Some had ingredients I didn't feel belonged in the recipe. Emeril Lagasse would have you add his famous Creole Essence. This one asks for cooking sherry, which to me is nothing but wine-flavored liquid salt. Epicurious, one of my favorite sites, adds cream and lemon juice. I knew the flavor profile I was after and none of these were it, so I kept hunting.

I liked the concept of the whole Cooking for Engineers site, but I really didn't like the recipe on this site at all. I really don't think the chicken needs to be brined, and the author had problems dredging chicken in flour. Instead of figuring out or learning how to do it  properly he spends time and effort on brine.

When I went shopping, still without a recipe, and figuring I may have to wing it, I saw veal scallopine on sale and it dawned on me that a)if you can do something with a chicken paillard, you can do it with a veal cutlet. Back to my trusty search engine.

And immediately, I felt like an idiot. Who is one of the most famous Italian chefs on the planet? Mario Batali. And not content with just one recipe, we have a few variations.

Basic Marsala cutlets:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 veal cutlets
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala

For the basic: In 12-inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until hot, but not smoking. While the oil heats, salt and pepper both sides of each veal cutlet. Dredge through the flour, shaking to remove any excess flour.
Place the floured cutlets in the pan and fry until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the cutlets over, and pour in the wine. Continue cooking until almost all of the wine has evaporated and a thick gravy-like sauce has formed.
Garnish veal with chopped parsley and extra-virgin olive oil
I served with angel hair with olive oil and parmesan cheese and a salad.
I haven't tried all the versions yet, but I really liked #2, which had only small changes from the basic:

  • 4 leaves fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala

  • For number 2: Prepare the pan and the veal cutlets as described above. When the pan is ready, add the sage leaves, pushing them around to infuse the oil with their flavor. The sage will become lightly fried. Remove the sage leaves and set them aside for garnish. Add the mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the floured cutlets and cook until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the cutlets over, and add the wine. Continue cooking until the wine has evaporated and a thick gravy-like sauce has formed. Top with sage leaves. Garnish veal with chopped parsley and extra-virgin olive oil.
The sage adds a really nice subtle flavor to the sauce, and I think a level of sophistication. 

What are some of your variations on this classic dish? Other comments, questions? Let's hear them!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds yummy. I may have to see if I can find sulfite-free Marsala at Whole Paycheck tomorrow. (: