cropped

I’m discombobulated. Off my feed, as it were.

ingredients

I had to work from home a couple of days this week, and although I got a lot done, something about losing the whole going-in-to-the-office routine and working from the couch in my PJs has really thrown me off. I’m confused. I’m tired. I am, dare I say it, a little cranky. Or, you know, a lot cranky.

I’m so off, in fact, that I almost came home tonight and shelved dinner in favor of take out. But you know what will NOT help me get back to my old self? Continuing to ditch my routine. So I sucked it up, and voila: veal scalloppine with brown butter salsa verde and fresh corn polenta, from Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

salsa verde

Okay, I did take a lazy-woman’s shortcut in the preparation of the salsa verde and did it in the mini FoPro instead of by hand in the mortar and pestle as directed. Like I said: tired and cranky. So instead of hand-crushing batches of herbs, followed by garlic and anchovy, followed by capers – they’re all supposed to be crushed separately, dontcha know – I chucked everything in the FoPro and called it a night.

Fresh oregano, mint, parsley, anchovy, garlic, capers, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper made for an intensely hued and flavored herb paste. I can’t convince myself that it would have tasted any better if done the old fashioned way, although you should feel free to castigate me in the comments.

polenta

Setting the salsa aside, I started on the polenta. The last time I made polenta it involved truffle oil, which is so freaking delicious that I had to restrain myself from throwing tonight’s recipe to the wind and dumping some in.

Luckily, there are leftovers, thank god. Truffled polenta cakes with a fried egg on top, I’ll see you Saturday morning.

floured

Next up: veal. When choosing the categories with which to tag this post, I realized that there was no category for veal, for not once in three and half years have I posted about it. I suppose I can chalk that up to my own conflicted feelings about eating veal at all. On one hand, the eyes of the baby cows, they haunt my sleep. On the other, those baby cows are damn tasty when served on a hoagie roll with marinara and melted mozzarella.

Damn you, baby cows, for being so tender and delicious. Yes, you can castigate me in the comments some more for saying that.

This particular slice of baby cow got salted and peppered, dredged in some flour, and quickly fried up in some olive oil. I stashed the cutlets in a warm oven while I made the brown butter sauce in the pan in which I’d cooked them.

saucy

You’d think that the name of the sauce – brown butter salsa verde – would have clued me in. (You’d also think I would have read the recipe all the way through…although actually, if you know me at all, you wouldn’t think that.) Still, I was a little shocked when the recipe told me to throw an entire stick of butter into the pan. Granted, the full recipe is meant to serve a lot more than 2 people, I assume, but still. Tossing whole sticks of butter around willy-nilly outside of the baking milieu makes me feel more like Paula Deen than I care to feel.

When the butter was good and brown I stirred in a healthy glop of salsa verde, and oh, friends and neighbors, the smell of those aromatics hitting the nutty butter is one I will not soon forget.

corn

Finally, because I had not yet dirtied enough pots and pans in the preparation of tonight’s dinner, I dealt with the fresh corn. I sauteed it in still more butter with some fresh thyme, then folded it into the polenta.

I put down a bed of polenta on a plate, sprinkled some arugula over it and topped it off with a few pieces of veal and the sauce.

dinner

Lessons learned:

  • I really hate arugula, even when it’s covered in brown butter sauce. I mean, I knew going into this that I didn’t like arugula, but thought eating it in the context of the dish might turn my head. My head: not turned. Arugula is yucky.
  • I don’t dislike capers as much as I thought, although I definitely prefer them ground up in a salsa rather than having whole berries pop between my teeth.
  • I underestimate the power of taste and smell memory. Yes, this is obviously an Italian dish, but the flavor combination really made me feel like I was back in Italy in a resounding, feel-it-in-your gut kinda way. Sigh…I miss it there.
  • Polenta should always have crunchy, sweet fresh corn kernels folded in. (And truffle oil.)

What’s your favorite taste memory? Where does it transport you?