Cooking with attitude: The veal thing

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
Open any 1960s cookbook and you'll notice... veal. Whether you had it escaloped, in a pie or roasted, veal was hip and groovy. Since those heady days, the veal vogue has faded, and it has become politically incorrect to eat. This is mainly because most intensive continental rearing methods, principally the "crating" of young steers, is regarded as suspect and inhumane.

British-bred calves are farmed for "rose" meat, a pinker-hued flesh, and not reared solely on a liquid diet like their continental brethren. So, there are no "emotional" arguments against the consumption of home-reared veal.

You trade the strong flavour of aged beef against the more tender flesh of the infant animal - as with its big brother, roughly the same rules apply about what method of cooking suits which cut. Rib-eye steaks and fillet being more tender than the rump and the shin meat is used for stews and pies, and so on. This following simple dish was inspired by a visit to a magnificent restaurant on Madison Avenue.

Ribeye veal steak & french fries with deep-fried herbs (serves 2)

2 ribeye veal steaks *(on-a-5"-long-bone) "French-trimmed"

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves peeled garlic, crushed

1 1/2lb (700g) Desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into thin French fries, (pre-blanched in 160C/400F oil)

Herbs: 4 sprigs fresh thyme/large handful fresh basil leaves/4 large sprigs fresh watercress/large leafed "continental" parsley/ 1 sprig fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 200C/450F/Gas 7. Rub meat surfaces with olive oil/crushed garlic and season. Heat a ribbed griddle pan smoking hot, seal steaks for 2 mins each side and place griddle in the hot oven (4-5mins). Flash- fry each bundle of fries for about 2 mins at 180C (450F) until crisp and golden, and flavour with herbs. This indulgent meal only needs mustard for the steaks - additional vegetables would be a travesty.

*Although UK beef-on-the-bone is banned, veal-on-the-bone (under 30 months) is legal.

The Nosh Brothers appear on Carlton Food Network