Bill Collier, master Butcher and consultant to the Ontario Veal Association, from Cambridge, Ont.
Finding veal cuts in Canadian supermarkets has often been difficult, but there's a movement afoot to alter this, says a spokesman for producers of the tender meat.
“Veal was traditionally a product you would see in specialty butcher shops or in independent retailers, but now it's starting to show up more in some major chain stores,” says Bill Collier, a retail and consumer meat marketing specialist from Cambridge, Ont.
One of the reasons he believes veal is gaining in popularity is because it is lower in fat than beef and its prime cuts are very tender.
“It is very similar to beef in that the middle meats or the loin and prime rib is going to be very tender and it lends itself to dry roasting and grilling,” he says. “The less tender cuts, such as shoulder, (are) better off braised or roasted with moisture such as in a stew or pot roast.”
Because of its tie-in with the dairy industry, which is predominantly located in Quebec and Ontario, most of the veal production is centred in those two provinces, says Jennifer Haley, executive director of the Ontario Veal Association, based in Guelph, Ont.
“Consequently we serve pretty much of the entire Canadian marketplace,” she says. “There is some imported from the United States and Australia but in smaller amounts.”
She says that between Quebec and Ontario there are close to 1,000 veal producers.
Collier says the beauty of veal is its mild flavour, which doesn't overpower a meal. ``Cooks can add all sorts of ingredients, seasonings, stuffings and side dishes.”
He adds that more restaurants are featuring veal on their menus.
“I think this is because they want to differentiate themselves from the competition and veal is a good option because there are a lot of ways it can be prepared.”
Grilled Veal Tenderloin With Bacon Mustard Sauce (Serves 4)
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter
30 ml (2 tbsp) minced shallots
15 ml (1 tbsp) minced garlic
30 ml (2 tbsp) Dijon mustard
50 ml (1/4 cup) white wine
500 ml (2 cups) whipping cream
45 ml (3 tbsp) grainy mustard
Salt, freshly ground pepper
125 g (4 oz) veal tenderloin (tenderloin tail if possible)
2 slices double-smoked bacon
2 Yukon Gold potatoes
750 ml (3 cups) canola oil
Onion sprouts, for garnish
Mustard Sauce: In a skillet over medium-high heat, add butter and sauté shallots and garlic until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes.
Add Dijon and stir until incorporated. Add white wine and cook, scraping solids from bottom of pan and stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half. Add cream and continue to cook, stirring, until reduced by half again.
Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer into a medium bowl. Stir in grainy mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, slice tenderloin into 4 equal portions. Wrap each tenderloin with a half slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside.
Frites: Pour enough oil into a deep fryer to reach at least halfway up the sides of the pan but not more than three-quarters of the way up sides. Heat oil to 180 C (350 F). Cut potatoes into sticks 5 mm (1/4 inch) wide and 5 cm (2 inches) long.
Dry potatoes in a clean dish towel to prevent oil from splattering. Fry potatoes in 2 batches until they are brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.
Heat grill or barbecue to high and cook medallions, turning once, for 1 to 2 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove, cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
To serve, mound 1/4 of the frites on each plate. Top with a veal medallion and drizzle with the chilled grainy mustard sauce. Garnish with onion sprouts, if desired, and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Wine match: Corbieres red from southern France.