Grilled Veal Chops with Caponata
Caponata is a Sicilian relish and Chef Billy Valentine’s version is good enough to eat with a spoon, although here it is served with nicely-seasoned veal chops. For convenience, make the caponata a day or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Chef Valentine suggests hot garlic bread as a wonderful addition.
- Garlic - 2 tablespoons, crushed
- Fresh Rosemary - 1/2 teaspoon, stemmed and crushed
- Freshly ground black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Veal Chops - 4
- Caponata - (recipe follows)
- Garlic Bread - (optional)
- Caponata (Makes about 3 cups)
- Olive Oil - 1/2 cup
- Tomatoes - 4, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- Yellow Onion - 1/2, minced
- Garlic - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Pinch of dried basil
- Eggplant - 1 large, peeled and finely chopped
- Salt - 4 tablespoons, plus more to taste
- Celery Stalks - 5, trimmed and finely chopped
- Green Olives - 1 cup, drained, pitted, and finely chopped
- Pine nuts - 1 cup, toasted
- Red Wine Vinegar - 1/3 cup
- Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Water - 1/3 cup
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, blend the garlic, rosemary, pepper, and salt into a paste. Rub the paste into the veal chops and let them sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
Light a charcoal fire or gas fire. If using charcoal, wait until the coals are covered with light grey ash. Sear the veal over hot coals for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Move them closer to the edge of the grill and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until medium-rare. The chops may also be roasted in a preheated 350 F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
To serve: Place a chop on each of four warmed serving plates. Garnish with caponata. Serve with slices of garlic bread (optional).
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbs. Lower the heat and saute for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Sprinkle the eggplant with the 4 tablespoons of salt, toss, and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Fill a small pot with water, bring to a boil, and add the celery; blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and rinse until cold running water. Drain and pat dry. Drain the olives and pat dry. Stir the celery and olives into the tomato mixture.
Thoroughly rinse the salt from the eggplant under cold running water. Drain on paper towels. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil in a medium saute pan or skillet over high heat. Add the eggplant and saute for 2 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the pine nuts. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside to cool. Combine the eggplant mixture with the tomato mixture.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, and water. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Stir the vinegar-sugar mixture into the vegetable mixture a bit at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. The caponata should remain thick. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use. The caponata will hold for a week in the refrigerator.