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Grilled Veal Heart Recipe

Grilled Veal Heart Recipe

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Heart is probably the most accessible of organ meats. It may be daunting in appearance, but it's meaty and firm and cooked, and tastes very good. Most butchers will special-order veal heart for you.

Adapted from “The Country Cooking of Italy” by Colman Andrews (to be published in Fall 2011 by Chronicle Books).


  • ½ cup/120 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for seasoning
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 veal hearts (approximately ½ pound/250 grams each), trimmed of sinew, halved crosswise
  • Salt and pepper


Combine the oil and lemon juice in a non-reactive bowl or baking dish, and then marinate the veal hearts for 2 hours at room temperature, turning them several times.

Light the grill, letting coals or wood get very hot (if using a gas grill, preheat to at least 500 degrees F/260 degrees C).

Remove the heart halves from the marinade and lightly blot off excess oil with paper towels. Season them generously on both sides with salt and pepper, and then grill them for 5-6 minutes total, turning them once.

To serve, cut the meat into thin slices across the grain. Drizzle a little olive oil over the slices.

Grilled/BBQ Rose Veal Steaks/Chops

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Rose Veal is devine cuisine that is a year round culinary delight. To BBQ /Grill the lean chops/steaks I got this piece of advise from an expericenced butcher Marcello Castellano. He has an almost new meat shop on 200- Meadowood Drive in Winnipeg [St. Vital] and does most of our cutting. To Grill Rose Veal steaks they should be marinated first for 12-24 hrs. Add citrus juice to Rose Veal marinade as the meat is very lean, Citrus with the marinade will help break down the tissue, when the steaks come off the grill they will literally fall apart. We tried it, unbelievable, Our customers say the same: I never knew a steak could be so tender, I’ve never had a better steak. It works with great with all cuts of steak, blade, sirloin,rib, t-bone, or round.

Grilled Stuffed Veal Chops

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and pat thoroughly dry.

Lay each veal chop on a work surface in front of you and, using a thin sharp knife, slice the meat horizontally, stopping at the bone. Working with one chop at a time, fold back one of the meat slices and pound the other one out as thinly as possible with a meat pounder, starting from the bone. Turn the chop over and repeat with the second slice of meat.

Open the veal chops in front of you and stuff each one with one-fourth of the tomato and cheese slices, 3 green beans and a basil leaf. The stuffing ingredients shouldn't protrude from the meat trim them if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and fold over the flaps. Seal the edge of each chop with 3 toothpicks.

Light a charcoal grill. Brush the chops with the olive oil and grill for 2 minutes. Season with salt, turn the chops and season on the second side. Grill for 2 minutes longer or until just cooked through.

Most cuts of veal are best cooked in a hot, dry heat. This makes grilling a perfect cooking method for veal. While you might be more familiar with Italian and French veal recipes that rely on sautéing, the grill will add flavor and get the veal cooked before it dries out. Like with beef, timing is everything—the secret is to not let the veal dry out. Since veal is so lean it cannot tolerate overcooking, so aim for medium-rare and keep an instant-read thermometer handy.

Veal has a delicate flavor that you do not want to overpower. Since veal is so lean, you want to do some fat replacement on it. A marinade with an olive oil base along with a few light seasonings will work great. You may also choose to simply brush a light coating of oil over the meat and lightly season with salt and pepper. This simple solution is perfect for veal since the flavor is already great.

Braaied veal chop with clams 'Alentejana'

1. In a bowl, combine the pepper, paprika, garlic powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, thyme and salt. Mix well.

Red pepper paste

1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, paprika, smoked paprika, wine, bay leaves, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, white pepper, salt, and tomato paste.

2. Blend on high speed until well combined. While the blender is running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until it forms a smooth paste.

3. Transfer to a container and reserve.

Fruit salad

1. In a bowl, mix the pineapple, mango, and melons. Sprinkle in the salt, nutmeg, allspice, and mustard, and toss to combine.

2. Add the lime juice and olive oil and toss again until well mixed.

Red pepper tamarind sauce

1. Heat butter in a small pan over medium heat, add the shallot and sweat until translucent.

2. Add the brown sugar and Red Pepper Paste and cook for 4-5 minutes until the raw flavour has cooked out.

3. Add tamarind and white wine, increase heat and reduce by 1/3.

4. Add the veal stock and a bay leaf, bring to a simmer and reduce by 1/3.

5. Remove the bay leaf. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth

6. Season with allspice and salt.

7. Before plating, add 2 ounces (60 ml) of cooking liquid from clams, remove from the heat and swirl in cold butter.

Braaied veal chop

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

2. Allow veal chops to come to room temperature. Brush with olive oil. Season liberally with braai spice and salt. Brush the grill with olive oil. Grill until internal temperature reaches 130 F (54 C).

3. Rest the chops for 5 minutes before serving.

Altentejana clams

1. Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat, add the shallots and sauté until translucent.

2. Add the clams and the white wine. Season with Braai Spice and toss. Cover and cook until shells pop open, around 5 minutes. Add 2 ounces (60 ml) of the cooking liquid to the Red Pepper Tamarind Sauce.

3. Finish with chopped parsley, cilantro and 2 ounces (60 ml) of Red Pepper Tamarind Sauce. Toss to coat before serving.

To serve

1. Place one large mound of fruit salad back left of a large white plate. Then, 2 small mounds (1 tablespoon/15 ml each) on the right side, top and bottom.

2. Spoon a small pool of the Red Pepper Tamarind Sauce on the left side, in front of the large mound of fruit salad.

3. Slice the veal chop on a bias through the meat, from top to bottom toward the cutting board, not left to right through the chop.

4. Place the half with the bone on top of the pool of sauce, leaning on the fruit salad to prop it up.

5. Place one clam on top of each mound of fruit salad, and one behind the chop.


In a small pot, over medium-low heat, combine the maple syrup, mustards, and chili sauce. Warm slowly, stirring occasionally until bubbling, then remove from heat. Add fresh tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Brush the Ontario Veal chops with the maple-mustard mixture on all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight

Fire up your grill to high 500°F.

Brush chops with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and head to the grill. Grill chops for 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness basting with extra maple mustard BBQ sauce after the first turn of the steaks.

Grilled Veal Marsala

Chicken or veal marsala is a classic Italian dish that can be made very easily at home. And being a grill lover myself, we’ll change it up a bit and will cook it on the grill. Grilled veal marsala it is. Feel free to substitute chicken breast for the veal, especially if you can’t find veal locally.

Let’s get to work

Start with boneless veal chops or veal cutlets. The meat needs to be about 1/4″ thick, so either pound it out at home or look for the thin veal cutlets at your local store or butcher shop.

We’ll also need some shallots, fresh parsley, chicken stock, salt, pepper, garlic, cremini mushrooms and marsala wine for the sauce.

The ingredients needed are minimal and you should have most of these in your pantry already, with the exception of the marsala wine. But fear not, it’s a readily available item and most grocery stores should stock it.

Start by seasoning the veal on both sides with salt and pepper. Apply a nice even coating on all the pieces and let them sit at room temperature while you file up the grill.

No flour dredge in this recipe. Remember, we’re grilling these instead of pan frying like in the traditional recipe.

It’s grillin time

After the veal is seasoned, fire up the grill and get it up to 450-500 degrees. Since the veal is thin, we don’t want to cook it all the way through, we just want to sear it on both sides. It will finish cooking in the sauce.

Put the veal direction on the grates, and cook for approximately 1-2 minutes per side. The meat should have some nice color. Pull it from the grill and set it aside. Now we’ll get started on the sauce.

Veal is looking good already after hitting the grill

The sauce is also very simple and can be made on the grill. I used a cast iron skillet from Big Green Egg to make the sauce.

Start with adding a tablespoons of butter into the skillet and sautéing the mushrooms, shallots and garlic.

Cook these over medium heat and long enough for all the liquid to cook down.

The mushrooms, shallot and garlic should also develop a nice golden brown color .

These also need time to release all their delicious flavors that will make the marsale sauce sing!

After the veggies have cooked down, it’s time to add the liquids. The main ingredient here is the marsala wine.

Add the marsala wine and chicken stock to the skillet and mix everything thoroughly.

Add the grilled veal back into the skillet and continue cooking until the sauce thickens up.

This will fully cook the veal and make the sauce the right consistency. If you see that it’s still too liquidy, feel free to add 1 tbsp of flour to help thicken it up.

The finishing touch

Classic veal and chicken marsala also has fresh parsley added right at the end to help brighten up the flavor. Right before pulling the skillet of the grill or the stove, add a handful of chopped parsley on top. And just like that, our dish is ready.

Before you go.

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Beef heart is an extremely flavorful cut that is maybe not for the squeamish. But cooking a delicious dinner sometimes takes guts.

The heart is not an organ, of course: It’s a hard-working, very lean muscle. It’s closely related, in taste and temperament, to venison, though less gamey, and generally priced far below more standard cuts of beef. Every cow and calf has a heart. But it begs the question: How often do we actually want to eat them? Not often enough. Chicken hearts—commonly used in South American cooking and small enough to hold by the handful—can be less challenging, and a relative gateway drug to the hulking, mammalian beef and veal hearts that may give cooks greater pause. But the payoff for home cooks is profound—beef and veal hearts deliver a pleasingly intense meaty flavor, take well to bold seasoning, and can feed a lot of people. Cooking heart also allows the home cook the host’s satisfaction of offering something slightly spooky or morbid that might initially challenge the more performatively delicate among your dinner guests, but will ultimately reward the little bit of performative courage that heart-eating requires.

I also love to cook hearts because they’re versatile: Grill, sear, sauté, braise, or grind them—they can take it. I love the flavor, and the slightly chewy texture reminds me of the wild venison and Mallard duck breasts hunted and prepared by my outdoorsman father. I enjoy the little bit of easy knife work required to trim and slice a heart, and I suppose there’s some self-satisfaction at making something delicious out of something that all too often makes its way to the dog’s bowl or, worse, the trash can.

So, you may ask, where to even find such a thing? It’s a chicken-and-egg situation, so to speak: Beef and veal hearts aren’t really available in a typical grocer’s meat fridge because there isn’t much demand, and there isn’t much demand because, I suspect, consumers aren’t much aware of, or interested in, the supply.

But while Whole Foods might not stock them (though some can if you call ahead), many grocery stores (especially with South and Central American clientele) do, and asking to have a heart set aside at your local butcher shop—or inquiring of the meat purveyors at your local farmers’ market, who are often happy to sell the heart of a recently butchered animal to an appreciative customer—is not much of a stretch. And it’s often sold at a per-pound price that’s half to a third of what they get for more popular cuts. A whole beef heart, trimmed, can serve a crowd of six to eight, as will three to six smaller trimmed veal hearts you’ll be hard-pressed to pay more than $20 for a trimmed whole beef heart.

“The heart and lungs of an animal are called the pluck, but it really takes none at all to eat and enjoy them both,” wrote Calvin W. Schwabe in Unmentionable Cuisine, an entertaining and useful book, published in 1979, about cooking and eating offal, insects, domesticated creatures, and other potentially squeamish-making food sources.

Beef heart marinated in Thai red curry.

Schwabe’s book reflects a sense of adventure and thrifty purpose, and I found it an excellent supplement to the standard texts I was issued as a culinary student nearly 20 years ago. Our class spent a few perfunctory days braising sweetbreads, searing liver and sautéing kidneys. I was thrilled by the novelty of shapes and smells, the mildness of the sweetbreads, the richness of the liver, even the challenging uric tang of the kidneys, and the chewy, crisp, and yielding textures that could be coaxed from these rejected parts, in concert with rich veal stock, browned onions, butter, wine, herbs, and proper seasoning.

When it was my turn to create a lunch special for the student-run restaurant, I prepared crisp-tender lamb brain fritters, accompanied by sautéed spinach and a piquant tomato sauce. (We sold exactly two orders, both to sympathetic, curious, and/or brave chef-instructors.) For my final project, I prepared an organ meat tasting menu, the centerpiece of which was a stuffed and roasted veal heart, napped with a fussy, mustardy Sauce Robert, a super classic white wine and veal demi glace–based sauce apparently developed in the time of Rabelais (so I learned from my beloved Larousse Gastronomique.)

After a few years of cooking and writing professionally, I pitched the idea of an organ meat cookbook to a vision-challenged literary agent, who immediately shot it down as being unappealing and without a market. (Now, as I look at Chris Cosentino and Fergus Henderson’s bodies of published works, and the current vogue for nose-to-tail eating, I invite you to ask me about my regrets, resentments, and failures of courage!)

These days, I like my hearts cooked quick and relatively bloody, as befits such lean muscle. The flavor can be a little more iron-intensive than your typical piece of meat, which is easily balanced with a spicy, fatty seasoning strategy (see recipe below). On the advice of butcher Josh Applestone, I’ll cut a beef or veal heart into relatively even half-inch slices and trim off all external fat and the connective tissue within the opened chambers. With a good, sharp blade, heart is no more challenging to slice than chicken breast.

“My rule is ‘Leave behind nothing you wouldn’t want to see in a medium-rare hamburger,’” says Applestone, coauthor of The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat, whose eponymous company purveys meat from a growing number of stand-alone vending machines in New York’s Hudson Valley. Applestone suggests grinding the lean meat together with fatty lamb or beef to make burgers, meatballs, or taco filling. I generally don’t bother with a meat grinder, which looks cool but can be messy and labor-intensive I prefer to cut the hearts (or any meat) into approximately three-quarter-inch chunks and carefully pulse it in the food processor. (As a side benefit, after feeding said burgers to a table full of hungry, carnivorous schoolchildren, you can thrill and/or permanently alienate them with full disclosure that they’ve just eaten an animal’s heart, with lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun!)

My favorite way with hearts, of late, is to marinate the slices in a piquant, semidry spice paste, broil, and use them as a base for lettuce wraps, with fresh herbs, sprouts, and roasted chopped nuts on offer, and sticky rice or noodles alongside.

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