Roast veal for picky feeders

There remain difficult people to please and to feed. I have great sympathy for these poorly guided folk. It was not too many years ago that I was one of them. Chops, sausages and mashed potatoes. That was me.

So, whenever you are required to cook for one of this unfortunate and plentiful breed, give them something they might not be too familiar with, yet won’t cause them to choke. Hare is not recommended. Tender, subtle veal certainly is.

1 real fillet of veal per person — The fillet is quite tiny, not much bigger than a banana, with a wider section up front. It is extraordinarily tender, mild and non-aggressive in flavour, simple and easy to cook, readily available, and guaranteed to please even the most difficult eaters.

a little flour

1 cup good quality white wine

150g butter, in chunks


black pepper

juice of 1 lemon


Trim the veal of any fat and sinew, and heat the oven to flat out.


Heat a little oil in a pan which can go to the oven. Sprinkle the fillets with the flour and place them in the hot pan, ensuring that they are well separated and don’t stick. Move them about and brown all over.


Complete the cooking in the oven. The veal will be done when the fillet is firm, but gives to the touch — 5–8 minutes. Veal should be cooked until it gets a pinkish-white colour in the middle. It should not be rare. Test and decide.


When the veal is done, remove from the pan and set aside in a warm place, covered. The cooking process should have browned the bottom of the pan. Herein lies the basis of the sauce.


Add the wine to the hot pan, running a wooden spoon about to raise the sediment. Bring to the boil and keep cooking until the wine is all but evaporated. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter piece by piece, until emulsified. Season with salt and black pepper.


Whisk in the lemon juice and any juice which has come from the resting veal. Keep warm.


Slice the veal, pour some sauce over, and serve with mashed pumpkin, and, when the season is right, Brussels sprouts, each given a touch of the butter sauce.

WINE: Veal is ambidextrous. It will take either red or white wine: a full-bodied chardonnay with 2 to 3 years bottle age or a 4- to 5-year-old, medium-bodied red.