On April 28, 2012, I had the opportunity to learn how to make one of my favorite dishes, veal braciole from Chef Mark Ladner as part of the two-day New York Culinary Experience hosted by New York magazine and The International Culinary Center in New York. Chef Ladner and Sous Chef Matt Abdoo took the class through the steps to make two classic Italian veal dishes, veal braciole and vitello tonnato. Part of the class was a video on steps that had to be completed days before, the other part of the class was where each student had their moment at the stove, and it always ended up with a nice plate of food. To read the recipes and see the exact measurement of ingredients used, please read Chef Mark Ladner's recipes in the Chefs' Recipes section.
Sous Chef Matt Abdoo, Edward Nesta and
Chef Mark Ladner
When I was young, I use to watch my father make braciole and though I loved his braciole, this is one dish that I have not tried to make since he passed on. I guess I wanted the memory of that special taste to linger forever, or more so, I have not come across a recipe that I could work with. Thus, the opportunity to work side-by-side with Chef Ladner was a unique opportunity that I just could not pass up.
Chef Ladner walked the class through a diagram of where different cuts of veal come from and which ones were the best to use when making braciole and vitello tonnato; he noted that either veal tenderloin or boneless shoulder eye roast would work for either dish, and for the class, we would work with veal tenderloin.
Cuts of Veal
The first recipe that Chef Ladner had the class work on was the vitello tonnato. I never knew that many of the classic Italian veal dishes required multi-day preparation, as was the case for the vitello tonnato, which required that the veal be cooked in the veal sauce for 3 to 3½ hours before letting it cool. The cooled veal stock would be blended with the cooked vegetables and the liquid would be used to marinate the cooked veal. The class watched a short video covering the steps that were completed prior to the class.
The class picked up the recipe at the last set of steps, plating and finishing the dish. Though everyone wanted to be hands-on with all of the steps, as Chef Ladner noted, the process was too long for this type of class, but he wanted us to experience the process through the video and working with the components to plate and taste the vitello tonnato. It was a very tasty appetizer with the piece of raw tuna contrasting with the marinated veal, which is how it is served at Del Posto, pooled with the rich vitello tonnato sauce.
Finishing the Vitello Tonnato Vitello Tonnato
The class was excited about the braciole recipe as there were many hands-on steps including time at the stove. As with the vitello tonnato, there were preparation steps that had to be completed days before such as cooking the Osso Bucco, and for this step and a few other steps, we watched a short video that took us through the process. Video complete, each team of 2 students were handed a piece of veal tenderloin. The tenderloin pieces for the teams were already thinly cut and pounded, but not to pass over a very important step, Sous Chef Matt Abdoo show us how to slice, pound, and prepare the meat.
Slicing the veal
The next step involved spreading the cooked mushroom mixture leaving a ¼-inch section across the end of the meat. Before we rolled and tied the meat, Chef Ladner explained how to use the ingredient, Activa TG TRANSGLUTAMINASE, as a protein agent that would work with the meat to seal the edge when we cooked the meat. So, along the ¼-inch edge we sprinkled the Activa, which is a seaweed-based ingredient that looked like powdered sugar.
Rolling veal and adding Activa
We all watched as Chef Ladner rolled and tied his piece of braciole. He showed us two different ways to tie the meat before it was to be pan seared and baked. I rolled my piece of braciole and gathered my butcher's twine to tie my braciole.
With the braciole tied, it was ready to be pan seared and baked. While the braciole was in the oven baking I warmed up the osso bucco braising liquid, one piece of osso bucco per person, and all of the braised vegetables in the sauce pan. When the braciole was finished, I was ready to plate my braciole, but first we had to slice the meat. Chef Ladner noted that if we tied our braciole to his instructions, we could cut along the six ties, which would yield six perfect slices that were equal in portion.
Pan searing braciole
The last step for the class required plating the braciole with the one piece of osso bucco, pouring the warmed osso bucco braising sauce and braised vegetables over the top of the meat, and topping it off with a piece of raw broccoli rabe before finding my fork and knife to properly finish off the plate.
Read about other classes in the Gastronomy section and interviews and recipes from the other classes in the Chefs' Recipes section.
Visit Luxury Experience's Facebook page to listen to interviews with the chefs and see more photos from the event. www.Facebook.com/LuxuryExperience
To attend the New York Culinary Experience 2013, please visit the New York magazine website: www.NYmag.com/nyce.
Regarding taking classes throughout the year with the excellent chef instructors at The International Culinary Center at their New York, California, or Italian Campuses, please visit the website: www.InternationalCulinaryCenter.com.
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