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Posts Tagged ‘Sicily’

By the Book: Scaloppine di Vitello al Marsala with Insalata di Arance

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013



Sicily: the largest island in the Mediterranean, the deflated soccer ball that Italy’s boot is kicking, the home to perhaps the hottest region for wine, and the latest subject of Phaidon Press. For me, what makes Sicilian cooking so interesting is that it isn’t the typical cuisine one might expect coming from an island off the coast of Italy. In fact, it isn’t very Italian at all. Based on Sicily’s location in the middle of the Mediterranean, the island was conquered throughout history time and time again. Consequently, Sicily’s cuisine has been influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards and so on … As the cookbook states, Sicily truly is “the original fusion cuisine.”




I chose the citrus and fennel salad because it looked beautiful in its photo. I chose the veal Marsala based on the amount of butter the recipe called for; I knew it would taste ridiculously decadent. I was right on both counts.




The recipe for the fennel salad seemed so weird – one of those combos that I figured would taste probably taste good, but I never would have thought of on my own. The salad was quick to put together, and although the flavors were powerful, the salad itself was light, which complemented the heaviness of the veal.




The veal was almost too rich for my tastes. Almost. Perhaps if I ordered it in a restaurant, I wouldn’t have thought twice about how it was prepared. But since I made it, it was hard to erase the image of the meat boiling in butter. The same idea goes for fried chicken – I would rather just eat it, not cook it. Although the veal melted in my mouth, it was so buttery that just one or two medallions seemed like enough, coupled with some salad and wine, of course.



Insalata di Arance
Preparation time: 30 minutes
8 servings

For the dressing:
5 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of half a lemon, strained
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fennel fronds from 3 to 4 fennel bulbs
1 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad:
3 to 4 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
8 oranges
1 cup roasted olives

• First make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, fennel fronds and fennel seeds, if using, in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
• Cut off the peel from the oranges, removing all traces of bitter white pith. Cut the flesh into rounds, put them into a large bowl and add the fennel and olives.
• Drizzle the dressing over the salad, mix well and serve immediately.

Scaloppine di Vitello al Marsala (veal scallops with marsala)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
4 servings

1 lb. 2-oz. veal scallops
All-purpose flour, for dusting
3 oz. (6 Tbsp.) butter
14 oz. (1½ cups) dry Marsala
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

• Dust the veal with flour, shaking off the excess.
• Melt the butter in a large pan and heat until it turns hazel in color.
• Add the veal, in batches if necessary, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes on each side.
• Season to taste with salt, reduce the heat to low and cook for a few minutes more, then remove the veal from the pan and set aside on a plate in a warm place.
• Scrape up the sediment from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then pour in the Marsala, stir well and cook until reduced. Spoon the sauce over the veal, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Phaidon Press

Tell us about your favorite lettuce-less salad in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Sicily. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Stacie, whose comment on last week’s By the Book column has won her a copy of Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Kitchen. Stacie, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew!



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