With veal back in vogue thanks to a new breed of savvy Australian producers, Anthony Puharich and Colin Fassnidge hero the lean protein in a flavourful dish that sings of spring.
Australian veal seals the deal.
A Do you like veal, Col? C Yeah, I love it. A You do? For what reasons? C Well, you know I’m interested in the whole no-waste, nose-to-tail thing.
A Mate, have you been reading my notes? People don’t understand veal. Veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry: male calves born into the dairy industry have no use, so they are generally discarded after birth.
C Yes, true, but I also don’t think you need to lock a calf in a cage anymore. A Exactly, buddy. C They used to be locked in crates. That’s why the meat was white, because they couldn’t move and there was no sunlight.
A They were anaemic. This is rosé veal. This is the more natural colour for veal – pink. It’s the most incredible story of animal husbandry. This is about giving the calves a great life – feeding them, caring for them. I’m very passionate about it.
C People will eat spring lamb, but they have trouble with a calf. We just need to break down the barriers.
A Lamb is anywhere between six and 10 or 12 months, and rosé veal is around seven months. There’s no difference. This is about people understanding good-quality veal, and that you’re using a product that would otherwise be waste. It’s also a lean, healthier cut of meat.
C Exactly. And here we’re going to roast it, thinly slice it and serve it with a tangy aioli to pair with the sweetness of the veal. Then we’ll do crisp pea and potato croquettes for crunch and texture. A You can take the Irishman… C You can take the calf out of the box, but you can’t take the Irishman out of Ireland!
RARE ROAST VITELLO TONNATO WITH PEA & POTATO CROQUETTES
SERVES 4 2 tbs olive oil 700g veal backstrap, trimmed, tied at 2cm
intervals (ask your butcher to do this) 1 cup (300g) aioli 2 tbs finely grated fresh horseradish Finely grated zest of 1/ 2 a lemon Sunflower oil, to shallow-fry
1/4 cup (40g) caperberries 2 tbs capers in vinegar, drained,
patted dry 1 bunch sage, leaves picked Baby flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve
PEA & POTATO CROQUETTES
750g desiree potatoes, peeled, cut
into 4cm pieces 25g unsalted butter, chopped 2 cups (240g) frozen peas,
blanched, refreshed Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon 1 cup (150g) plain flour 3 eggs, lightly beaten 2 cups (140g) stale breadcrumbs Sunflower oil, to deep-fry
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
For the croquettes, boil potato in salted water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, return to pan and roughly mash with butter. Whiz peas, lemon zest and juice in a food processor until smooth. Combine pea mixture with mashed potato. With floured hands, roll into 1 tbs balls. Place on a tray and chill for 20 minutes to slightly firm.
Place flour, egg and breadcrumbs in 3 separate bowls. One at a time, dust croquettes in flour, dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and roll in breadcrumbs. Dip once more in egg, letting excess drip off, and roll once more in breadcrumbs. Return to tray and chill until needed.
Meanwhile, to cook veal, heat olive oil in an ovenproof frypan over high heat. Add veal and cook, turning, for 3 minutes until evenly browned. Transfer to oven and roast for 17 minutes for rare, or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice.
Combine aioli, horseradish and lemon zest in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat 1cm sunflower oil in a small frypan over medium-high heat. In 2 batches, add caperberries and capers, and cook for 2 minutes or until capers are crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Add sage and cook for 20 seconds or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel, reserving oil.
To deep-fry croquettes, half-fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan with sunflower oil and reserved caper oil, and heat to 180°C (a cube of bread will turn golden in 90 seconds when the oil is hot enough). Working in batches, deep-fry croquettes, turning halfway, for 11/ 2- 2 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel and scatter immediately with salt flakes.
To serve, spread horseradish aioli over plates, top with veal and croquettes, and scatter with crispy caperberries and capers, fried sage and baby parsley.