On Cooking with Teenage Morals: Veal Piccata

As a teenager, I had very high ideals.  I informed my parents that I wanted to be a vegetarian.  They lovingly replied that when I lived on my own I could eat whatever I wanted, but as long as I lived under their roof, my dad (yes, my dad) would cook only one meal a night.

Fine then.  I would eat anything but veal.  Veal was cruel.  Didn’t they know how veal was raised?  That lasted until the parish priest came over for dinner, and my dad made something special.  I made my lofty protests up until five minutes before the doorbell rang, but as an Irish-Catholic growing up in Buffalo, you lose when the priest comes over for dinner.

Call it divine intervention, growing up, or loss of ideals, but as an adult, Veal Piccata is one of my favorite splurge dishes.  I make it when I’m craving easy gourmet, trying to impress a date, or on Sundays, which tends to be a fancy dinner night for me.  I guess some traditions stick for a reason.

Recipe comes, appropriately, from my dad.


Pound it flat!  If you don’t have a meat pounder, disinfect a hammer, wrap the meat in plastic, and go at it!  Think of it as resourceful.

Shake it like a…

Remember, you’re dealing with beef, so careful not to overcook.  One minute per side will do it.

Whisk until reduced by half!

Cook for additional minute and allow sauce to thicken.

Dig in!

Veal Piccata                                                                                                                                                                                                                Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 veal scallops, about 3/4 pound, pounded to a thickness of 1/8-inch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced, or more to taste, (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoon capers, drained (I like nonpareilles)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves, optional, plus sprigs for garnish

1)  In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and pepper and stir to combine thoroughly.

2) Dredge the veal scallops in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.

3) Mix together chicken stock, chopped garlic, lemon juice, and capers.  Set aside.

4) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter.   

5)  Quickly cook the veal until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. You may have to do this in multiple batches.

6) Deglaze the pan with wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Continue to stir as necessary.

7)  Reduce the wine by half.  (You’ll have to eyeball this one.)

8)  Add the chicken/garlic/lemon juice/caper mixture and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. 

9) Whisk in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons of butter and the chopped parsley.

10) When the butter has melted, return the veal scallops to the pan and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute.

11) Garnish with parsley sprigs, a generous amount of sauce, and serve immediately.

I highly recommend serving this dish with lady finger potatoes or roasted carrots and parsnips.  You’ll notice in my picture that I made mashed potatoes.  While always delicious, they’re not the best accompaniment.  It’s just what I had in the cupboard.

Tip:  If you want to make your co-workers jealous, make extra, slap it between pieces of rye bread, and pack it for one of the most delicious home-made sandwiches you’ve ever eaten.

Tip:  Reserve the peel of your juiced lemon and use it to wipe down your sink.  It’s a natural way to remove stains and deodorize!

Tip:  This recipe isn’t hard, but it does require a watchful eye and precise timing.  I added a pre-mixing step, but pre-measuring everything else before you start cooking will help to ensure success!

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