OK, I lied. Sort of. As “my” lyric says… “I” left my veal in San Francisco…My recipe’s the same as Tony’s, but the meat is chicken.
But, first a bit of Bennett love. I grew up listening to his music… my parents were big fans and years later when I was a rock’n’roll writer, I got to meet him and see him perform at the Palmer House in Chicago. Nightclubs disappeared, but not Tony. In the early 70’s he sang with Elvis Costello at Roseland in NYC, he duet-ed w/ k.d. lang and, as I read in Friday’s LA Times, he paired with Amy Winehouse for his new duet album. His contemporaries are gone, but Tony Bennett is still holding court.
While living and writing in Manhattan for years before moving to the Left Coast, I found that dining in Little Italy was like a “George Washington Slept Here” tour only it was “Tony Bennett Ate Here.” I love Italian food and loved the food in most of the “Tony- sanctioned” restaurants, so in 1985 when I saw a recipe for Tony Bennett’s veal scaloppini marsala in a magazine, I figured he wouldn’t be publishing it if it wasn’t “Little Italy” bene. I was right. It was delicious and I made it often, but since my husband has become an amateur chef and cooks more than I do now, many of my old recipes were fading to a dull, mustard yellow from lack of use.
Last week I was in one of those ‘clean out and weed out’ moods that comes upon me once – maybe twice – a decade and found Tony’s old recipe. After my “wow, I can’t believe I still have this recipe after more than 25 years” moment, my scaloppini marsala taste memory came flooding back. I had to see if the dish was as good as that memory. But veal is expensive. Chicken is cheap.
I know, chicken?!?! But times are tough and, quite frankly, in this dish, the chicken doesn’t taste that different from veal. And that’s no lie. In fact, I remember a restaurant scandal in Little Italy many years ago, wherein a popular Italian restaurant was substituting chicken for its veal scaloppini and veal parmesan dishes without anyone noticing the difference for months.
So, since we had a bottle of Marsala wine somewhere in the back of our liquor cabinet and my husband loves veal Marsala, he decided he wanted to try out my old Tony recipe with a Costco boneless, skinless chicken breast (who am I to argue?). How cheap is that!? (No need to answer – that’s a rhetorical question.)
Well, I’m happy to report my craving is gone. Last night we had the loveliness of chicken; the glory that was veal was just another day..
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 lb thinly sliced veal (or boneless, skinless chicken breast)
¼ lb butter
4 tablespoons Marsala wine
4 teaspoons chicken broth
Combine flour, salt, pepper and grated lemon peel in a mixing bowl.
Pound flat the veal (chicken) and cut into 2-1/2 inch pieces. Coat w/ flour and lemon peel mixture.
Heat the Marsala wine w/ chicken broth in saucepan over low heat. Richard suggests you reduce it to thicken the sauce a bit.
Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat and brown the veal (chicken) about 2-1/2 to 3 minutes on each side.
When the veal (chicken) is browned, spoon the Marsala/chicken broth mixture over the veal (chicken) and serve.
My husband served the scaloppini Marsala dish w/ steamed broccoli and carrots.