In this recipe, E. Smith instructed the cook to “hack” thin slices of veal fillets and, after seasoning them, to “lay them in a pewter dish . . . and let them lie till you want them.” By using the term hack in her directions, Smith was describing scotching, which, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language defines as “cut with shallow incisions.” The cubed steaks we know today can be considered a modern version of the scotched meat of the eighteenth century.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word collop is of obscure derivation, perhaps connected with coal. In early Britain, the term meant a rasher of bacon that was to be fried, generally with eggs, but later it came to mean just a slice of meat. Hannah Glasse’s Scotch Collops recipe illustrates this development in the meaning of the word. Although collop seems to have become confused with scallop, there is no association between the two. Johnson’s dictionary defined it as a “rasher boiled upon the coals.”
From Dining with the Washingtons
This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original. It was created by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons (2011).
AVAILABLE FROM THE SHOPS
2 1/2 to 3 pounds veal scaloppini
Ground white pepper
6 to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
All-purpose flour, as needed
2 cups chicken broth
About 4 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced (about 1 cup)
- Lightly season the scaloppini with salt and pepper.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and combine with the nutmeg, lemon zest, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Mix with the egg yolks, stirring together until well mixed.
- Dip the scaloppini in the mixture, coating both sides, and then dredge both sides in flour. Put the scaloppini on waxed paper, and leave it to set at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Melt another 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the scaloppini, and cook until browned on both sides -- 2 to 3 minutes per side -- adding another 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter, if necessary. Remove the scaloppini from the pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside to keep warm.
- Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour in the sauté pan, stirring up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Return the scaloppini to the pan, turning to coat on both sides with the sauce. Cover and continue to cook until the scaloppini and mushrooms are cooked through.
- To serve, place the scaloppini and mushrooms on a platter and surround with the sauce. Squeeze the juice of 1 of the oranges over the scaloppini. Cut the second orange into quarters or slices, and set around the platter to garnish. Serve hot.
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