Sunday, July 01, 2007

Scallopini with Exotic Mushrooms & Meselun with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Last night dinner was Scaloppini with Exotic Mushrooms and a Mesclun with Cranberry Vinaigrette. At first glance it may seem like just another Schnitzel. But a scaloppini is a not a schnitzel nor is a schnitzel a scaloppini. As I was prepared the scaloppini one of my daughters came to assist. She then asked, What is a Scaloppini”. While trying to give her an idea I said, “It is like a schnitzel”. She then remarked, “Were is the second coating”. Ah yes, that is one of the main differences between the two. Think of the scaloppini in the Mediterranean with a warm climate and casual attire. The schnitzel is double layered in a cooler climate with a more formal environment Therefore one has one layer while the other has a second layer.

The traditional Scaloppine or Scaloppini a ‘scallops’ or ‘escalopes,’ literally means tender cutlets of meat. The traditional meat used was a veal loin. The schnitzel is less traditional on the source of meat and it is made from all types of thinly sliced meat, and even rabbit. Now you will find all types of fusions recipes from deer to turkey. Due to the difficulty of obtaining veal in this region I have to resort to other types of meat. For the meal tonight I used a beef cutlet that had been tenderized.

Garnishes and sauces used are two many to list. You can use form a squirt of lemon juice to a more elaborate wine sauce. The Italians may also put some pine nuts or a spoon full of capers on the scaloppini. The sauce I prepared tonight was a very easy mushroom sauce with exotic mushrooms. For the salad I used some iceberg lettuce purchased form the store with a mixture of romaine and musclum growing in my garden. The mushrooms for the scaloppini I used were Portabellas (Portobellos), shitake and the common white mushrooms. Any varieties locally can be used as well as more exotic types.

The Cranberry Vinaigrette is what is referred to a fusion recipe by using locally available ingredients & adjusts it to their ethnic taste. So in this recipe the French vinaigrette is changed using cranberries. I place were the cranberry is not available the use of raisins would be perfectly acceptable. The sweet and tart taste of the dried cranberries is just perfect for the vinegar mustard mixture of the vinaigrette over the Mesclun. This is a mix or assorted small young salad leaves.

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