Sometimes, you’ve just got to treat yourself to a nice dinner. My standard fillets of salmon or tilapia, roasted chicken breast, and never ending supply of roasted vegetables does get boring after awhile! You can only mix up seasonings, rubs, sauces, and salsas so often. After spotting a beautiful cut of grain-fed veal cutlet at my local grocery store, I thought I’d treat myself and make a gourmet dinner for one.
I love making involtini’s (Italian for roll-ups), because it is an easy way to incorporate a lot of flavour into the meat – the presentation when it’s sliced helps too. You should generally incorporate some variety of cheese, to ensure the rolled layers stick together. The classic combination of spinach and ricotta makes for a great and simple involtini. I’ve gone for more Middle Eastern flavours here, and used olive tapenade, capers, mozzarella, and sage. This is quite a salty combination, so adding the acidity and richness of a white wine cream sauce is a fine balance.
This is a technique that is repeatable with any other meat. Though veal may come in cutlets, other meats like chicken and pork will need to be flattened in order to create a roll. You may also do the same with vegetables such as sliced eggplant or zucchini. Oh, the possibilities!
Yield: Serves 2
- 3 cutlets of veal
- 9 fresh leaves of fresh sage (3 per cutlet)
- 9 tsp olive tapenade (3 tsp per cutlet)
- 2 tbsp capers
- 250 grams fresh mozzarella (or about 1/4 cup shredded)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 toothpicks or kitchen twine
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/4 onion or shallots, finely chopped
- Season both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper.
- Using a spoon, spread a thick layer of tapenade across each veal cutlet. Place three whole sage leaves and capers on top of the tapenade on each cutlet. Finally, spread cheese evenly across all three – be sure to concentrate the cheese vertically lengthwise as to not leak out the sides when it is melting.
- Roll up tightly, and secure with a toothpick.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with ample olive oil. Once small bubbles begin to appear in oil, place each roll in the pan. Watch out for hot oil splashes! Sear each side for 1-2 minutes, until browned. Remove from pan.
- Add garlic and shallots to the pan and brown for 1 minute. “De-glaze” the pan by adding in wine, and scraping the bottom with a spatula. Boil off the alcohol for about 3 – 4 minutes before adding in butter and cream.
- Add back the rolls to the pan, and turn heat to medium-low. Cover and continue to cook for 5 – 7 minutes, until rolls are cooked through and cheese is melted.
- Slice before serving to showcase your work!