Simple roast veal

Main course: serves 6. Total time: 2 hours

Now that it is possible to find home-grown, naturally reared British veal, rejoice over the delights of both cooking and eating such a thing. All guilt concerning any moral reasoning has been removed.

1 sirloin joint of veal, hewn from the fillet end of the loin, about 2.3-2.5kg in weight and trimmed and chined by the butcher
salt and pepper
olive oil, or dripping that is at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 425F/ 220C/gas mark 7. Using a very sharp, small knife, make shallow criss-cross incisions across the surface of the veal fat. Now, using your hands, smear this with a good lubrication of olive oil or dripping, and then further continue this massage all over the rest of the joint until fully shined and slippery. Liberally sprinkle with salt, particularly upon the fatty parts, and then dust with pepper, this time paying more attention to the exposed areas of meat.

Place a solid-bottomed roasting dish (one that will also happily sit upon a high naked flame) over a brisk light and heat a little more oil or dripping until close to smoking hot. Introduce the joint to the dish fat-side down, turn the heat down a touch and then allow to sizzle there for anything up to 10 minutes; at least until the joint's fat is running and its surface is crusted and golden. Heave it up so that it now sits more steadily upon its flat spine bones and then slide it into the oven. Roast for 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Now turn the heat down to 350F/180C/gas mark 4, and continue to roast for a further 40-50 minutes or so, not forgetting to baste and also turning the dish around for even heat distribution.

Remove the joint from the oven (while also switching it off and leaving the door ajar), transfer it to another dish and wrap loosely with foil. Return to the waning heat of the oven to keep warm and rest - and for at least 20 minutes, please. Tip off every scrap of fat from the roasting dish into a bowl, allow to settle and then spoon off the fat into the dripping bowl (if applicable). This then enables one to collect the dark brown residue to add to those limpid juices collected during the joint's repose.

Now, following the natural contours of the vertical bones, remove the loin and fillet from the frame as two entire, separate pieces, and carve a slice of each on to hot plates. And, be assured, that meagre mingling of juices will amply moisten and dress the meat rather than swamping it with a separately made, thickened gravy. Serve with expertly made creamed potatoes, nothing more.

Life and Style
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