I confess. I don’t have that primal urge to grill every piece of meat I come across in the summer. I don’t think every single thing tastes better when it’s emerged from a session with smoke and fire over charcoal. I sometimes wonder if grilling is the obsession it is because it gets the man of the house to help with the cooking all summer long. Then again, it does get you out of the house and keeps the heat out of the kitchen. And my second confession is this: I think part of my problem with grilling is that I haven’t necessarily grilled the right way.
You can’t just plunk down a slab of meat on a hot fire and expect it to emerge beautifully done. There is some art and craft here after all. And this recipe, which is a hybrid of a recipe from Larry Forgione in his signature “An American Place” cookbook (William Morrow 1996) and the techniques I learned from Elizabeth Karmel’s “Taming the Flame”(John Wiley and Sons 2005) was a triumph and a break-through for me. It’s excellent. The meat comes out perfectly cooked, with a nice brown coating. The morel sauce couldn’t be simpler to make using dried morels reconstituted in Madeira and water, a little butter and a very little heavy cream. Since tomatoes are coming into their own and who has ever met a Vidalia onion they didn’t love, it’s a great dinner for right now. By the way, this was Costco veal and it was excellent. Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Grilled Veal Chops, Tomatoes and Onions with Morel Cream Sauce
4 Veal Chops about 1 ½ inches thick
1 cup dried Morel Mushrooms
¼ cup Madeira
¼ cup water
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 large Vidalia onion cut into 4 thick slices
2 large ripe Beefsteak Tomato cut into 8 slices
2. Brush a baking sheet with about half the olive oil. Lay the tomato and onion slices on the pan and season with pepper. Carefully turn them over and pepper the second side. Brush the veal with olive oil and salt and pepper it on both sides.
Prepare a charcoal grill mounding the charcoal on one side of the grill, leaving the other side without charcoal. When the fire is medium hot (meaning you can hold your hand over the coals for a five count), put the chops on the cooking grate over the coals. Sear for 3 to 4 minutes a side rotating each at the two minute mark. Turn over and repeat on the other side. Once the chops are seared, move them to the area of indirect heat. Cover and continue cooking them for 15 minutes for medium.
4. At the 10 minute mark, put the onions over the coals, cook for 2 minutes, then carefully flip them and sear the other side for 2 minutes. Remove them to the side with the veal chops. Place the tomato slices on the grill and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Remove everything from the grill, divvying up the onions and tomatoes on 4 plates and placing a veal chop on top of each. Cover and let rest for five minutes
Meanwhile, remove the morels from the soaking liquid with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. Filter the liquid through a coffee filter. In a small saucepan, combine the morels, the liquid, and the butter and bring to a boil. Add the heavy cream and reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Spoon the sauce over each veal chop and serve. Serves 4.