Sunday, January 17, 2010

Belated Birthday Dinner.....

You may not have heard.....I forgot his birthday.  I know.  Bad.  So, I've been trying to make it up to him, although he actually got a bit of a kick out of it.  I always try to cook something special for everyone's birthday, even if we decide to go out to the birthday boy's/girl's fave restaurant.....but Dennis has so many faves, it was hard to decide.  So, I started with Veal Parmigiana....he loves it!

I went to Harris Teeter to shop....they usually have the better products to cook with, especially when it comes to fresh ingredients.  And their cheese counter is pretty good for a grocery store!  But I was surprised that they didn't have freshly cut veal.  They had packaged pieces.....yep, I bought 'em.

They were actually nice pieces, although a little small.  I decided to pound them into paillards (yup...French word!), which are thin slices.  I use a zip top bag for this, mainly because it's a little thicker than clear wrap and doesn't seem to fall apart. 

Dennis came into the kitchen just as I was about to pound......

Once they were pounded into thin slices, I set up my dipping station.....2 eggs with a little water (beaten), flour (salt & pepper) and Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan dip into the flour first, then the egg, then the bread crumbs.  Place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to the coating to "set up", which helps it to adhere to the meat and not fall apart in the pan when you're browning them.

While they were set aside, I started my sauce....and the camera battery died....and the other battery was dead....and I had to get the sauce done.  My sauce is very simple.....I put about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a heated pan, add my diced/crushed garlic and let it soften.  Then I add a small can of tomato paste and turn the heat down low.....this allows the paste to carmelize/roast a bit and the flavors deepen.  Next I add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes....about a teaspoon of sugar, fresh basil and red wine (white wine works, too!)....then I just let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes (to let the alcohol evaporate), then cover and leave on low until ready to use.

So....I waited about 45 minutes for the battery to charge and then started the veal.  I put about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan, then just browned them on medium high heat.  Remember, they have been pounded into thin want to brown them very fast, since they go into the oven next!

While they were browning, I grated my Parmesan cheese and set aside.....I have to leave the grater out in case Dennis reappears in the kitchen.  If he sees freshly grated Parmesan on the counter, you'll have to grate more....guaranteed.

After the veal was all browned, I put them onto parchment paper on a baking sheet....laid fresh mozzarella over the tops (Note:  I tried this new stuff in the grocery store....fresh mozzarella sheets. 

While it was better than the grated stuff in the zip top bags, it was expensive and a bit of a pain to deal with....I'm still in search of great mozzarella.  I'll let you know when I find it!).

Now here is where the recipe gets a little personal.  Alot of recipes call for you to pour the sauce over the veal, then cover with the mozzarella.  I don't do it that way.....I just coated and fried those suckers.  They have a nice crispy outside and covering them with sauce will ruin that!  So, I cover them with the cheese....bake in the oven at 400 degrees or more, just until the cheese has melted.  Remove from the the veal over pasta and cover with my rich, delicious sauce!  Then I sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top....add freshly baked bread and VOILA (French word for Italian food...I know)....Belated Birthday Dinner #2!!!


kellygreene1978 said...

How funny, mom forgot Rich's birthday last year and then tried to blame it on Erinn and I. This chicken parm looks great! I am going to be borrowing some of your recipes.

Cola said...

Help yourself, Miss Kelly! That's why they're here!