For this year's Christmas dinner, it was decided that roast veal would make an appearance on the menu, notwithstanding the fact that I've never done it before. This particular roast comes from the rack, which is one of the best cuts for roasting, especially for a long, slow roast at a low oven temperature, which really brings out the tenderness of the veal. The friend this recipe comes from swears by the milk-fed veal rack from Swiss Butchery.
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
1 veal rack, frenched, about 3 kg
10 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 Tbsp olive oil
Notes on Ingredients: Ask the butcher to halve the rack into two racks of 4 chops each, to make for easier roasting. This recipe doesn't require a lot of ingredients, which is what makes it so appealing.
Preheat the oven to 100°C.
Spread the Dijon mustard on the veal, paying special attention to the fat side, as well as the two ends. There's no need for an especially thick layer of mustard.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. When the oil is sizzlingly hot, brown the veal, fat side down, in the oil. The reason the veal looks like it has peppercorns on it is because I used some Australian whole-grain sun-dried tomato mustard instead of regular Dijon.
Once the veal has been nicely browned on one side, flip it over and brown the other side.
Don't forget to brown the two ends of the rack as well, though you probably want these to be golden-browned and well-sealed, as opposed to the more charred sides.
Once that's done, arrange the racks into an interlocking guard of honour and pop them into the oven to roast slowly for 2 hours. This ensures an even cooking that really allows the meaty juices to develop and prevents your meat from over-cooking.
For an extra-special touch, while the meat is roasting, fire up a charcoal grill and bank the flames so that the coals are just glowing.
After two hours, remove the veal from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Using a sharp knife, carve the meat from the bone, following the contour of the ribs, in one slab. If you have a charcoal grill, grill the meat and the bones for a minute or two on each side to give the meat a wonderful smokey flavour, which serves as a robust counterpoint to the tender veal.
Once you've done that (or if you decide to eschew the grilling), cut the slab of veal into thin slices to serve. The meat should be lusciously, tantalisingly, blushingly pink, with no question of over- or under-doneness. The bones can also be separated and served, as there is a fairly generous amount of meat attached to them.
Since we were feeding quite a large number of people, the veal was placed in a large glass dish, but you could just as easily serve this in individual portions. Excellent with some roast potatoes and a rich red wine-based sauce. Any leftovers (though this is most unlikely), particularly the bones, are just as good the next day.