Love veal. Tender. Flavorful. It’s the tops. I wish I could hunt veal – a backpack adventure into the Wilds of Wisconsin where the great veal herds prosper. Well, I suppose I could hunt them here, but I would not be allowed back on that property ever again.
Luckily, I have plenty of venison which itself is tender and flavorful and an excellent substitute for many veal-based recipes.
Today, we’re going to do Venison Francese. Francese is scallopini – a cutlet of veal, venison, or poultry sliced or smashed thin and covered in flour – in a lemon butter sauce. It’s a close relative to picatta, the large difference being picatta utilizes capers which are, quite frankly, gross.
The Palace Restaurant in South Lakeland serves the best Francese, and their version inspired me to give it a try with venison. Important note, though. This is NOT their recipe. I’m afraid I would only do injustice to their plate. Instead, I browsed through several Internet recipes and substituted for what I did and did not have in my fridge or pantry. I've made my shopping trip for the week already.
So. What’s the cut of deer that would be mostly likely to serve as a fill-in for baby cow?
That’s right, the tenderloin!
Cut tenderloin across the grain so you have tenderloin nuggets. Soak in milk for up to 24 hours. Remove from milk and pat dry. Cover meat with saran wrap and hit a couple times with a mallet until it is a ½-inch to ¼-thin. Dredge in flour and dip in egg wash with ½ tbs of salt and ¼ tbs of pepper. One recipe called for 6 tbs of parmesan cheese added to the egg wash, but again, I have made my shopping trip for the week. Separate the scallopini into three batches.
Set your oven to its lowest setting – 180 degrees or thereabouts. On the stove, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbs of olive oil and 2 tbs of butter. When the butter starts bubbling, add one batch of venison, browning on each side, about a 1 ½ minutes a side. Remove to pan in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with 2 more tbs of butter and olive oil for each of the next two batches.
Once all the meat is cooked, return it to the pan and sprinkle the juice of one large lemon or 2-3 tbs of lemon juice over the meat and cook for an additional minute or two.
Serve over angel hair pasta, making sure you pour all that lemon-butter goodness out of the skillet and over the meat and noodles.
Now, a couple things I will do different next time I cook this. One, I’m gonna add a clove of garlic before I toss in the lemon juice. Also, I’m adding the parmesan to the egg wash. I love cheese.
This is a simple-as-can-be recipe that fits venison very well. Suggest you give it a whirl.