If you're not one for hearts and flowers but still feel like cooking up a special meal for Valentine's night this recipe from my son Will and Huw Gott's restaurant Hawksmoor* would fit the bill perfectly. After all it does contain oysters which as you know are an aphrodisiac . . .
Huw writes: After a weekend in Vienna (during a depressingly England-less Euro 2008), we returned home with a newfound respect for schnitzel. Back at Hawksmoor, where the world revolves around a real charcoal grill, we decided to grill the veal and use the schnitzel’s breadcrumbs to coat oysters instead. It appealed to our inner food geek – the Victorians loved to pair oysters with beef, why not with veal? And it seemed like a good excuse to pile on the deep fried oysters – we love their crunch and soft milky, saline interior (part sea, part sex, part chicken nugget).
Veal needn’t be a cruel meat. Although crating has been banned in the EU a number of other unsavoury practices are still common. Your best bet is to buy British rose veal from a reputable supplier like Percy and Ben Weatherall’s Blackface Meat Company who produce great quality ethical veal from their Ayrshire dairy herd in south-west Scotland.
2 British rose veal chops (3–4cm thick)
Maldon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
75g seasoned self-raising flour
2 lightly beaten eggs
100g fresh breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 lemon wedges to serve
For the mayonnaise:
50g line-caught tinned tuna
100g mayonnaise (Hellmann’s is fine)
10g capers, rinsed
50ml double cream
To make the mayonnaise, whizz the tuna, mayonnaise and capers in a blender and sieve into a small bowl. Stir in the double cream and set aside.
Open the oysters, remove the meat and pat them dry.
Dip them in the seasoned flour, then the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Heat a ridged grill until almost smoking. Season the veal chops well and sear both sides until well coloured, then place in the oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to rest.
Heat an electric fryer or a deep pan of oil to 180°C/350°F. Dip the oysters in the breadcrumbs a final time and deep-fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown.
Serve the chops with a pile of fried oysters on top and a large spoonful of the mayonnaise.
NOTE: You can also use a barbecue to cook the chops.
What to drink: You could drink a lightish red like a red burgundy with this but I'd be inclined to go for a Chablis because of its association with oysters - maybe a vieilles vignes or a premier cru - or even grand cru - given the fact that the veal is grilled.
*Recipe from Hawksmoor at Home, published by Preface Publishing