Veal is often mistaken for beef, but there’s a world of difference between the two.
While both originate from cattle, the animal’s age at the time of harvest and diet significantly influences the meat’s taste, texture, and color.
In this guide, we will talk about the taste of veal. You’ll get to know what it tastes like, how it’s different from other meats, and the best ways to cook it to bring out its special flavors.
How Does Veal Taste?
The taste of veal is delicate and slightly sweet, with a hint of milkiness. Its texture is incredibly tender and moist, and its aroma is subtle, adding to its overall gentle profile.
Its flavor is mild and slightly sweet, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the ingredients it’s cooked with. This means that the taste of veal can vary depending on the spices, herbs, and sauces used in its preparation.
Did you know that veal is one of the most tender meats you can find?
That’s right! This is due to the young age of the cattle from which veal is sourced. The meat hasn’t had time to develop the toughness that can come with age, resulting in a soft and easy texture.
The aroma of veal is as subtle as its flavor. It doesn’t have the strong, meaty smell that you might associate with other types of meat, like beef. This makes veal a great choice for those who prefer their meats to have a less overpowering smell.
It’s also worth noting that the taste of veal can vary depending on the cut. Different parts of the animal can yield different flavors and textures.
For example, veal cutlets might be leaner and milder in flavor, while veal shanks may have a richer taste and a slightly tougher texture.
What Does Veal Compare With?
- Chicken: Veal is often compared to chicken due to its mild flavor. However, veal has a slightly sweeter taste and a more tender texture.
- Pork: The tenderness of veal can be compared to the taste of pork, especially cuts like pork tenderloin. But veal has a more delicate flavor.
- Beef: Veal is essentially the younger version of beef. It’s less beefy in flavor and much more tender. If you enjoy the taste of beef but want something milder and softer, veal is a great choice.
- Lamb: Some cuts of veal, like veal shank, can have a richness that’s similar to lamb. However, veal lacks the distinct gamey flavor that lamb has.
- Turkey: The lightness of veal’s flavor can be compared to turkey, but veal is more tender and has a slightly sweeter taste.
Does Veal Taste Good?
One of the things that people often enjoy about veal is its tenderness. If you appreciate tender, melt-in-your-mouth meats, veal is likely to be a hit.
On the flip side, if you prefer strong, robust flavors in your meat, you might find veal too mild for your liking. Its subtle flavor can be overshadowed by strong spices or sauces, which might not be to everyone’s taste.
The ethical considerations surrounding veal production can impact how some people perceive its taste. For these individuals, no matter how good veal might taste, the ethical issues outweigh the sensory experience.
How To Make Veal Taste Good
- Choose the right cut: Different cuts of veal have different flavors and textures. For instance, veal cutlets are lean and tender, perfect for quick cooking methods like sautéing or grilling. Veal shanks, on the other hand, are great for slow-cooking methods like braising.
- Don’t overcook: Veal is naturally tender, but overcooking can make it tough. It’s best to cook veal to medium-rare or medium to maintain its tenderness.
- Pair with the right sides: The sides you serve with veal can enhance its flavor. Consider pairing it with something that complements its mild flavor, like a tangy tomato sauce or a rich mushroom gravy.
- Use a marinade: Marinating veal can help to tenderize it further and infuse it with flavor.
- Rest before serving: After cooking veal, let it rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
How To Eat Veal
Veal cutlets are thin slices of meat perfect for quick cooking. They’re often breaded and pan-fried to create a dish known as Veal Milanese.
The crispy, golden breading contrasts beautifully with the tender veal, creating a satisfying and delicious dish.
Veal Scallopini is another popular way to eat veal. In this dish, thin slices of veal are lightly floured and sautéed, then served with a lemon-butter sauce.
The tangy sauce enhances the veal’s mild flavor, creating a light yet flavorful dish. It’s a classic Italian dish that’s perfect for a special occasion.
Veal Parmesan is a hearty dish where breaded veal cutlets are topped with marinara sauce and melted cheese, then baked until golden and bubbly.
The rich tomato sauce and gooey cheese complement the tender veal, creating a comforting and satisfying dish. It’s often served with spaghetti, making it a complete meal that’s sure to please.
Osso Buco is a traditional Italian dish where veal shanks are braised with vegetables, white wine, and broth.
The veal becomes incredibly tender, almost falling off the bone. It’s typically served with risotto or polenta, which helps to soak up the flavorful sauce.
What Does Veal Look Like?
Raw veal is usually a pale pink color, much lighter than the deep red you might associate with beef. This light color results from the cattle’s young age and their milk-based diet.
Veal cuts come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It all depends on which part of the animal they’re from.
Veal cutlets, for example, are thin slices of meat that are often lightly pounded to ensure even cooking.
Veal shanks, on the other hand, are thick cuts that include a portion of the leg bone, giving them a distinctive, round shape.
When cooked, veal changes color from pale pink to light brown or grey, depending on the cooking method used.
Another notable feature of veal is the marbling or the thin streaks of fat that run through the meat. Veal is generally leaner than beef, but the marbling that it does have contributes to its tenderness and flavor.
When cooked, this marbling melts, infusing the meat with a subtle richness that enhances its overall taste.
How is veal different from beef?
Veal comes from young cattle, while beef comes from mature cattle. This difference in age results in several key differences between the two. Veal has a lighter color, a more tender texture, and a milder flavor compared to beef. It’s also generally leaner than beef.
Is veal healthier than beef?
Veal is leaner than beef, which means it has less fat and fewer calories. However, veal and beef are good protein sources and essential nutrients like iron and zinc. The healthiness of either can depend on the specific cut and how it’s prepared.
How is veal raised?
Veal comes from young cattle, typically male calves around 16 to 20 weeks old, often a byproduct of the dairy industry. The calves’ diet and living conditions influence the type of veal. However, due to animal welfare concerns, many farmers are now adopting more humane practices in raising veal calves.