… And I don’t mean the chicken or the egg. I’m talking about the ‘Cordon Bleu’, a traditional veal recipe and also a way to describe an excellent and refined cook. According to Wikipedia, it could be both. If the dish came first, the name comes from the blue ribbons the ‘inventor’ used to hold the meat together. A bit unlikely, because I suspect a blue ribbon would leave unappetizing blue marks on the cooked meat. Another possibility is that it was invented by a student of the 19th century ‘Cordon Bleu’ cooking academy.
Whatever the origin, it is one of my mother’s favourite dishes. So I decided to make a Cordon Bleu for Sunday lunch. Although you can get them ready-to-bake at our local supermarket, I prefer to make them myself. In the supermarket version the main ingredient of the Cordon Bleu, a lean veal scallop, is often replaced by fat and stringy pork scallops, in order to keep the price down. The coating of breadcrumbs is perfect to disguise the inferior quality of the meat.
So, here’s my version of the famous ‘Cordon Bleu’:
Ingredients, serves two:
- 2 lean and thinly sliced veal scallops
- 2 slices of cured Italian Ham
- 2 hands’ full of grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 free-range egg
- 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 50 gr. of butter
- 6-8 wooden toothpicks
Put a slice of cured ham on each slice of veal and cover it partly with a handful of grated cheese. Fold or roll the veal slices into a tight package. Seal the edges using three or four toothpicks.
Roll the packages in the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs. Melt the butter and bake the Cordon Bleu on a low heat. Don’t let the breadcrumb coating get too dark. Three to four minutes on each side should do it. Serve with boiled potatoes and green peas, sautéed in butter to which you have added a chopped onion, pepper, salt, thyme and a dash of sugar. Bon appétit!