The Heat Is On for Roast Veal

Times Staff Writer

Question: Why does veal have to be roasted until it reaches a higher internal temperature than beef? The roasting chart in my book says 170 degrees for any cut of veal, whereas beef varies from rare (140 degrees) to well done (170 degrees). I'm afraid to buy and cook veal because it has a tendency to become dry. If you cook it longer, won't it become too dry?

Answer: When roasting, veal is usually cooked (in 300- to 325-degree oven) until it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees in order to develop flavor and keep the meat tender, according to the Live Stock and National Meat Board. Beef, which has firmer connective tissues than veal, loses flavor and becomes dry and tough when roasted for a longer period.

To obtain moistness in roasting, lard the veal or have a butcher do so and baste frequently. Vegetables such as potatoes, onions and carrots may be placed around the meat while cooking. With other methods of cooking veal, such as braising and stewing, the time period is considerably shorter. Veal scallops, for instance, should be sauteed quickly and lightly over a medium-high heat. Veal chops are good when dredged with flour, browned quickly over a high flame (for a brown outside and a pink and juicy inside), then cooked further on medium heat.

The tenderness and moistness of lean veal can be improved. The "The Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (New American Library) mentions two methods. One is to blanch the veal briefly, starting in cold water. The other is to soak the veal in milk overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Q: I would like to try a delicious-sounding recipe for chocolate ice cream that suggests serving the ice cream in nougatines. None of my cookbooks have a recipe for nougatine. The dictionary defines nougat as a confection of nuts or fruit pieces in a sugar paste. Would nougatine be in the same line of thinking? Please provide a recipe for nougatine so my ice cream dessert will be complete.

A: In French cookery, nougatine (also called nougat brun ) is described as a mixture of caramelized sugar and sliced or chopped almonds that is rolled into thin sheets and cut in circles or other shapes.

Here is a recipe from Bruce Healy's and Paul Bugat's book, "Mastering the Art of French Pastry" (Barron's: $21.95). The method is somewhat tricky, particularly in the rolling stage when one has to work quickly while the nougatine is still warm and pliable. The best rolling pin to use is a steel one, but an old wooden rolling pin will suffice if oiled to prevent the nougatine from sticking to it.


6 ounces sliced almonds, coarsely chopped (or use finely chopped almonds and sift to remove almond powder)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon glucose or 4 teaspoons light corn syrup

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Warm almonds in 200-degree oven. Place sugar in 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in glucose. Cook over medium to high heat without stirring. As soon as sugar begins to melt around sides of pan, begin stirring with wooden spoon.

When sugar becomes fluid with small lumps of unmelted sugar floating in syrup, reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring constantly and crushing solid lumps of sugar with wooden spoon, until sugar is completely melted and turns pale to medium amber.

Stir in warmed almonds and lemon juice. Continue heating, stirring, until nuts and caramel are well mixed and hot and caramel is syrupy. Pour Nougatine onto oiled baking sheet or jellyroll pan and spread with wooden spoon.

Place baking sheet in warm place and allow Nougatine to cool until no longer fluid but still very soft and quite hot. (The hotter Nougatine is when rolled, the easier rolling will be.)

Using dough scraper, lift piece of Nougatine of size needed for desired shape onto oiled countertop. Roll into 1/8-inch-thick sheet with oiled rolling pin. Cut sheet into shapes while hot. To make circle, use flan ring, vol-au-vent disk or round mold as guide, cutting with sharp knife. To cut triangles, first trim sheet into neat rectangle, then cut triangles.

Nougatine may be molded into bowl shape using small bowls, or inside of layer cake pans or pie pans. Oil outside of inverted molds and carefully lift rolled sheet of Nougatine and drape over rolling pin into mold. Press down into mold to shape. Trim excess Nougatine around top of mold with paring knife while still hot. Makes about 1 pound.

Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.

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