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Veal Escalope with Highmoor cheese and nettles

This dish is inspired by the classic Italian recipe of veal Involtini. If foraging for nettles isn’t your thing, they can easily be swapped out for a bag of spinach.


Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

250g young nettles, or spinach, well washed

1 tbsp of lemon juice

30g parmesan, grated

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

150ml white wine

2 tins of plum tomatoes

2 large packs of veal escalopes

150g Highmoor cheese, sliced thinly

1 tsp of dried oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan, or gas mark 4). Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water, then tip the nettles or spinach into the pot of boiling water and blanch for three minutes, until wilted and soft.


Scoop out the leaves with tongs or drain through a colander, then plunge them into the cold water to stop them cooking any further. Once the leaves are cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely, then mix with some more salt and pepper, the lemon juice and the grated Parmesan.


Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and fry the onion for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, fry for another minute, then turn up the heat and add the wine. Let the wine reduce a little before adding the tinned tomatoes and leave to simmer while you get on with the escalopes.


Season the escalopes with salt and pepper, then spread out a quarter of the nettle mix over each one, before laying on a quarter of the sliced Highmoor and a sprinkle of oregano. Roll the meat parcels up tightly and secure with a cocktail stick.


Get a griddle pan good and hot, rub a little oil on the outside of the parcels and lay them on it, smooth side down. Cook for about four minutes (turning 90 degrees halfway through if you want cross-hatching), then repeat with the folded side down for another four minutes.


Check on the tomato sauce, if your frying pan is oven-safe transfer the veal parcels to the tomatoey sauce. If not, transfer everything to a baking dish. Finish in the oven for 15 minutes to penetrate and melt the cheese.


Serve with Sourdough bread and the rest of the bottle of wine.


Nettle Picking Tip

The whole nettle -leaf and stem- is edible but the best-tasting part is the top five centimetres of the plant. Young nettles are what you’re looking for, tear the tops off or cut them with scissors. Light green leaves and green stems are good, avoid the ones that are turning purple and nettles that have flowered.  We’re coming to the end of the nettle-picking season, but after a chilly start to the spring, there are still plenty of flavourful nettles around. Nettles are not great lovers of direct sunlight so usually, the freshest and greenest ones are near a hedgerow or amongst the trees. Always use gloves when handling, and wash thoroughly before use.




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