Thomas Keller is to American cooking as Julia Child was for bringing French cooking to the everyday American family. He loves American food and he showcases our iconic recipes in his new ad hoc at home cookbook. His dishes are served up in big bowls and platters, and served family style.
He is the chef and owner of Napa Valley’s French Laundry and New York’s Per Se. His restaurant in Napa valley is considered one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. He is the only American chef to have received simultaneous Michelin stars for two different restaurants. On my list of things I must to do in my lifetime, is to secure reservations and enjoy dinner at the French Laundry.
This dish my husband and I made for ourselves from his new cookbook. He prepared the veal cutlets and I prepared the arugula and fennel salad. This was a wonderful meal and we discovered what a great flavor combination arugula and fennel make together.
Breaded Veal Cutlets with Arugula and Fennel Salad
Recipe from: Thomas Keller ad hoc at home
2 pounds trimmed veal top round, cut across the grain into twelve 1/2 -inch-thick slices
(note: I think pounded thin pork loin or even chicken breast would work just as well)
3 small or 2 medium fennel bulbs
About 3 cups of panko crumbs
All-purpose flour for dredging
2 to 3 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Peanut or canola oil for shallow-frying
6 ounces (about 8 loosely packed cups) arugula, rinsed and dried
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Lay 2 pieces of veal on a large piece of plastic wrap, cover with a second piece of plastic wrap, and, using a meat pounder, pound to 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining veal. (The cutlets can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 12 hours.)
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Remove the stalks from the fennel bulbs. Using a Japanese mandoline, vegetable slicer, or a very sharp knife, thinly shave the fennel crosswise. Transfer to the ice water to keep the fennel crisp. Set aside.
Set up dipping station: Put about 1/2 inch of flour in a shallow bowl wide enough to hold the cutlets. Lightly beat 2 eggs in a second bowl. Spread 1/2 inch of panko crumbs in the third. Replenish each bowl as needed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season the meat with salt and pepper and coat each piece, one at a time: Dip both sides of the cutlet in the flour, patting off any excess, then dip into the eggs, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, and then coat on both sides with panko crumbs, patting them so they adhere; transfer to the baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 200 F.. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Pour just under 1/2 inch of peanut oil into a large frying pan and heat to 350 F. Add 2 cutlets to the hot oil and cook for about 1 minute on each side, until crisp and golden. Transfer to the rack, and keep warm in the oven. With a skimmer, remove any pieces of coating remaining in the oil. (Do not allow the oil to get too hot, or any bits of coating will burn and give the oil an off taste.) Fry the remaining cutlets in batches, transferring them to the oven.
For the Salad:
Drain the fennel and pat dry. Toss with the arugula in a large bowl. Squeeze 2 of the lemon wedges over the greens. Drizzle the olive oil around the sides of the bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss.
Arrange the cutlets on one side of the platter, overlapping them. Arrange the greens on the other side of the platter. Garnish the platter with the remaining lemon wedges.
Thomas Keller Movie Notes:
Thomas Keller designed and taught Adam Sandler in the movie Spanglish how to cook what is often called the “World’s Greatest Sandwich”.
In the movie Ratatouille he allowed the producer to intern in the French Laundry kitchen designing the fancy layered ratatouille “confit byaldi” for the characters to cook.