Valentine's Day Treat - Veal Marsala

Normally, Valentine's Day, apart from the flowers and candy, is a time when you and your special someone go to a restaurant, have the Valentine's Day special, and make goo-goo eyes at each other while waiters hover about taking orders and carrying food. Well, here's a thought: why not cook a special meal for that special someone? That's right. Stay home, light up a few candles, put on a Barry White CD, chill the champagne, and make a special dish that will knock their socks off. If there are kids in the way, park 'em with your in-laws or shell out some cash for a baby sitter. Remember, Valentine's Day comes but once a year. A good, romantic meal will make up for a lot, laddies and lassies.

And nothing lights up the sequence like Veal Marsala. I know, it sounds Frenchified, but it ain't. Also, it's quite easy to prepare. Not time consuming at all; so you'll have more time to hold hands and do whatever. Naturally, you need Marsala to prepare the dish. It's a sweet to semi-sweet fortified wine similar to port or sherry. You want to use the sweet Marsala (dolce---such as a Rubino). The wine gives a unique flavor to the dish that cannot be imitated by any other type of wine---so do not substitute. Only Marsala wine will do. I like to cook the veal in an electric skillet at the table since you have to flame the meat, and it adds that special elegance when you want to impress your partner. Be careful to use a long matchstick so it doesn't backfire and you burn yourself.

Now, for that special meal, start off with a salad, or a cream soup such as mushroom or spinach. To enhance that continental flavor you can add some garlic bread. If you don't know how to make garlic bread, you can substitute a round facaccia loaf, sprinkle some garlic on it, and drizzle it with a light olive oil (don't worry about the garlic. At this point, you're mind and body are going to be on other things). And to end the meal, nothing beats big juicy strawberries, halved and served with some light cream. Or you can take whole strawberries and dip them in cream or brown cane sugar and offer it to each other. You get the idea.

This entree can be served with rice or steamed vegetables and/or potatoes as an accompaniment. Veal Marsala can also be made with chicken breasts (Chicken Marsala). Just pound chicken breasts halves to about 1/4-inch thick or less and cook just like the veal. Either way, whichever ingredient you use, your true love is going to love you more.


1/2 pound veal, sliced wafer thin, or 4 veal cutlets (about 3 ounces each), thinly sliced
Note: if the veal cutlets are not sliced thin, you can pound them between two sheets of wax
paper or aluminum foil until 1/4-inch thick or less
3 tablespoons four
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup Marsala wine
2-3 parsley sprigs

1. Combine the flour with the salt and pepper. Dredge the veal in flour and shake off any excess.
2. In a skillet large enough to hold the veal comfortably in s single layer, heat the butter over medium heat. When it is hot, brown veal quickly on both sides.
3. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add Marsala wine. Place a lighted match to it and flame it. Saute all the ingredients until the flame dies down. This should be done rather quickly (you don't want to overcook the meat). Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings.

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