Friday, September 22, 2006

Veal-ly delicious!

I am so pleased that humanely reared English rosé veal is having the resurgence it deserves. Naturally with our extensive dairy farming the by-products are calves. And if these calves have no use in the United Kingdom they may be shipped over to Europe and not always in the best of conditions. I am huge advocate of animals being breed in a humane environment, where they are given plenty of decent food, comfortable place to sleep and a place to roam outside. It seems ironic that the apparent solution to a veal calf having a happy life is to keep them in the United Kingdom and raise them as rosé veal with access to a nursing cow and not keep them in a tiny crate and just fed milk substitute as many traditional white veal calves on the continent are. Male dairy calves have the toughest position, clearly they are not going to join the herd as milk producers and unless they come from a dual-purpose breed, which could be used for beef, they will either be slaughtered or kept for veal. I’d enjoyed some incredible rosé veal at Gary Rhodes and there has been several food programmes discussing veal recently. Janet Street Porter on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word campaigned outside supermarkets to encourage them to stock rosé veal on their shelves and Food Uncut had Sophie Grigson talking about why we should eat veal. So I did. I am delighted to eat veal if I am assured (like any meat I eat) that it has led a happy life and therefore I made my way to Waitrose. F Word mentioned that they were stocking rosé veal and I read that Waitrose's veal buyer Andy Boulton, thinks standards of production are no longer a reason to avoid the meat and said "Waitrose has been leading the way in animal welfare and customers are aware that veal is no longer a culinary taboo." I have tried on several occasions to score myself some veal but it has been reported to be flying off Waitrose’s shelves which is why this is the first time I’ve able to lay my hands on some. And what did I do with my veal? I’d seen Jean-Christophe Novelli whip up a veal dish on Food Uncut with ham, cheese and a provençal sauce (which contained an alarming quantity of tomatoes) so I went for my own interpretation. I flattened out the veal fillet and topped it with a piece of smoked ham and then a spoonful or two of fresh pesto. This was then topped with a little piece of Tallegio and the veal was folded over. I didn’t bother flouring the fillet and pan-fried it for several minutes on each side. There was some oozing but I just poured this over the finished dish so there was no waste.
And the verdict? – (if you’ll excuse the pun) - veal-ly delicious!

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