Hero ingredient - veal


WHAT IS IT? Meat from a young male dairy calf. Now veal has press on par with pretty much anyone who has been caught up in Operation Yew Tree, but bear with me. The farming practices of crates are, in the UK, no more and welfare standards are much improved. If you make sure to buy UK-reared and, if possible, organic you are actually helping out the calves (in a roundabout way). Thing is, the calves are usually from dairy cattle so the male calves are, owing to a lack of udders, destined at birth for the pastures in the sky or transported to the continent. Veal is perhaps the fairest alternative and at least gives them a chance to frolic in fields for a while. I got all my veal knowledge from listening to The Archers but there is much written on the subject here, here and here.

WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? This stuff tastes pretty good. Lighter in colour and flavour than beef but with a similar texture. From traditional osso buco (Italian veal shin stew) to veal Milanese (breadcrumbed veal), make sure that the Italians aren't having all the fun. It also works rather well as a steak sandwich. Our personal favourite is vitello tonnato - cold cuts of veal with a tuna mayonnaise sauce. Sounds gross but tastes truly great.

WHERE CAN I GET IT? Any good butchers will sell it and a little birdie tells me that it is also stocked in Waitrose.


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