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Veal in a Hurry

TIMES STAFF WRITER

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Mushrooms and mesclun with vinaigrette

Veal and Eggplant With Tomato-Chevre Puree

Hot pasta

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Warm country bread

Red pears

Nothing cooks as quickly as veal. Its delicate flavor and tender texture are enormously appealing, but it often comes with an equally enormous price.

This sauce is surprisingly easy and remarkably foolproof. Three ingredients are thrown into the blender and whirred into a thick puree: goat cheese, chicken broth and sun-dried tomatoes. We’ve added a touch of garlic, but the sauce works without it, too. When you serve the dish, you might try topping the sauce with a leaf of fresh basil cut into julienne strips.

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Eggplant goes especially well with veal. Use the smaller, sweeter Japanese eggplants; this eliminates the need to salt the vegetable to leach out bitterness.

To reduce the expense of the meal, you might substitute stewing veal for the pricier cutlet called for in the recipe. The cubes are simply sauteed and gently simmered with the pureed sauce for about an hour. Other quick-cooking and inexpensive alternatives are pieces of chicken or turkey breast, or even tenderized or cubed beef steaks.

Complete the meal with pasta, warm country bread, a simple salad of mixed greens and mushrooms with a light vinaigrette, and pears or plums.

VEAL AND EGGPLANT WITH TOMATO-CHEVRE PUREE

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Staples

2 cloves garlic

1 3/4 cups homemade chicken broth

3 tablespoons butter or olive oil

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Salt, pepper

Red wine vinegar for salad

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3 Japanese eggplants

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1 (14 1/2-ounce) can clear chicken broth (in place of homemade)

1 small bottle sun-dried tomatoes

1 (4-ounce) log goat cheese

1 pound veal leg cutlets (or boneless turkey or chicken breast)

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1 bunch fresh basil

Optional Side-Dish Shopping

Mesclun or mixed greens

Red pears

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Bread

1. Cut 3 Japanese eggplants into cubes and set aside. Crush 2 cloves garlic.

2. Combine 1 3/4 cups homemade chicken broth or 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can clear chicken broth, 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, 1 (4-ounce) log goat cheese and 1 crushed clove garlic in blender container. Blend until very smooth and thick. Place in saucepan and heat 5 minutes until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep hot.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in large non-stick skillet. Add eggplant and remaining clove garlic. Saute 5 to 8 minutes until tender. Remove from skillet.

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4. Reheat skillet, adding remaining 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil. Add 1 pound veal cutlets, 2 or 3 at time, and cook 2 minutes on each side. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat.

5. Place sauce on individual plates and top with veal. Surround with eggplant cubes. Cut few leaves fresh basil into strips and sprinkle on top of dish.

Makes 4 servings.


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