It's the end of August and that thing happened. You know, the thing that happens overnight, all of a sudden and without warning. A chill in the air, the sun plummeting from its highest summer heights down to that midrange place in the sky. The first moments of Autumn.
So it feels like it's time for pasta and mashed potatoes and red wine. Heavy, comforting food and thick rich sauces. I wore pants for the first time in months this week. (But I'm avoiding socks, so doing that Miami Vice thing with the barefoot in the dress shoe.)
Tonight I made veal for the first time. Beautiful, young, supple veal. (Oh, vegetarians, sorry. Uhh, spoiler alert?) It was utterly tender and oh-so-gently-flavoured, perfectly paired with a dollop of mashed potatoes and some crispy green beans, part of the incredible August harvest going on in these parts.
A note on the meat: Seasoned with only salt and pepper, I seared it quickly in a pan and then cooked it in the oven. It took just fifteen minutes at 375°F. (Before sliding it into the oven, surround it with chopped garlic, shallots, and a bit of ginger.) Pull the meat from the pan and allow it to rest under foil while preparing a red wine jus with the flavour-soaked mash left behind. Add 3/4 of a cup of red wine, a few tablespoons of butter and a teaspoon of grainy mustard. Let it come to a light simmer and burn off that booze, stirring often. Separate the jus from the mash (giving each diner a saucière of their own) and stir the garlic, ginger, and shallot-mash into the potatoes with a solid half-cup of whipping cream and some butter. Holy shit yes.
A note on the wine: One of my all-time favourite whites is Villa Maria's Sauvignon Blanc. Well, they do other stuff too. Their 2007 Pinot Noir (LCBO, $20.10) is perfect for this time of year, the twilight zone between Summer and Fall. It's heavy enough to support the veal but light enough that you don't feel weighed down. Bright and fruity, serve it just the slightest bit cold.