Scallopine is a favorite dish for many, especially when you dine out. Cooking scallopine at home can be a bit intimidating. The great danger is overcooking. Done badly, those velvety scallopine pieces turn into leather. Difficult to cut, awkward to chew. For tender scallopine, what you need is a faultless recipe, with each step clearly laid out and the timing perfected.

Famed author, chef and TV personality Lidia Bastianich presents that ideal recipe in her book Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen. Her book has an entire section devoted to scallopine with a wide spectrum of recipes. You have options for both basic ingredients and preparations.

Scallopine comes in four basic types: turkey, pork, chicken, and veal. Lidia’s recipes work for any of those meats. She does suggest these different sizes to serve four:

  • Turkey, pork or chicken: eight 3-ounce pieces
  • Veal: twelve 2-ounce pieces

For preparation, there are both classic and new recipes: Parmiagiano-Reggiano coated, mushrooms with Marsala, saltimbocca Roman-style, egg battered with lemon sauce, peppers and mushrooms with tomato, eggplant and fontina, and lastly my favorite: lemon-caper sauce. I made this recipe with veal and was careful not to overcook the meat by meticulously following her timing directions. The sauce was a lovely brown, smooth, and wonderfully tangy. Lemons and capers are simply a marriage made in some special corner of culinary heaven.

When you are not in a rush, try this recipe. It only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, but you want to prep you kitchen and just be relaxed as you walk through the steps. This recipe has been well tested, so you can trust it, and know that in just a short time you too can be tasting a piece of culinary heaven.

Scallopine in Lemon-Caper Sauce

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lemons
4 servings [veal, chicken, turkey or pork, see above]
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled
10 large green olives
¼ cup small capers in brine, drained
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preparation:

Squeeze the juice from one and a half of the lemons and reserve. Lay the remaining half-lemon flat side down and cut into very thin slices with a paring knife. Remove the pits and set the lemon slices aside.

Season the scallopine with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour to coat both sides lightly and tap off the excess flour. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a wide, heavy skillet over medium heat until the butter is foaming. Add as many of the scallopine as will fit without touching and cook until golden brown on the underside, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining scallopine.

Remove all scallopine from the pan. Pour off the fat and carefully wipe out the skillet with a wad of paper towels. Pour in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, the garlic, and lemon slices. Cook, scraping the bottom of the skillet, until the garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Scoop out the lemon slices and set aside. Scatter the olive and capers into the skillet and cook, stirring gently, until they begin to sizzle, about 4 minutes. Pour in the wine, bring to a vigorous boil, and cook until the wine is reduced in volume by half. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and cook until slightly syrupy, about 4 minutes. Return the scallopine to the skillet, turning the cutlets in the sauce until they are warmed through and coated with sauce. Swirl in the parsley and divide the scallopine among warm plates. Spoon the sauce over them, including some of the capers and d olives in each spoonful. Decorate the tops of the scallopine with the reserved lemon slices.

Source: Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchenby Lidia Matticchio Bastianich