A rather unusual combination for veal, perhaps, but this is one of my personal favorites. The figs and almonds lend so much texture to this dish and really complement the mild flavors in the veal. If you are one of those people who steers clear of veal, pork tenderloin is a terrific substitute and works equally as well, as do chicken breasts.
Sautéed Veal Medallions with an Almond-Fig Cream
Michael Salmon, In the Kitchen with Michael Salmon
5 ounces dried figs (or 4 fresh figs)
¼ cup port wine
8 4-ounce veal (top round) medallions
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Canola oil for frying
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup whole almonds
1 cup heavy cream
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon whole fresh thyme leaves for garnish
Remove the hard stem from the tip of the dried (or fresh) figs. Cut the figs in half and each half into thirds. Place the cut figs into a small bowl and cover with the port wine. Reserve.
If the veal medallions are thicker than a ½ inch, pound them gently between two sheets of plastic wrap. Season the veal with salt and pepper and dredge with flour.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of canola oil and heat. Gently lay the floured veal medallions in the pan and sear on each side for 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Place the minced shallot in the pan and stir around for 1 minute. Add the figs and the port wine to the pan along with the almonds. Stir for 1 minute.
Add the heavy cream and 2 whole sprigs of thyme. Reduce the cream to the consistency of a thick sauce and remove the thyme sprigs. Stir in the butter and season with kosher saslt and white pepper to taste.
To serve, place the veal medallions on the serving plate and cover with the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme, and serve with vegetables and starch of your choice.