A veal fillet is a thin and tender cut of beef that is also boneless. Veal itself is derived from young cattle, and most countries that produce dairy products tend to get this cut of meat from male calves instead of female. Fillets can be made from any cut of meat, so veal versions can be made from virtually any part of a cow. Compared with steak from older cattle, veal fillets are known for being tender, and some chefs feel that the taste is stronger. Veal is extremely versatile, while the fillets are used in a number of regional dishes, and cooks generally use extra care to ensure that the meat is not overcooked.
Veal is derived from young cattle, or calves. Traditionally used in French and Italian dishes, this type of meat has since spread in popularity to other regions of the world. Since dairy cows are female, male cows are generally the ones that are raised for this type of meat, including calves for veal.
There is a misconception that fillets refer to a particular cut of meat. As with other kinds of meat, a veal fillet can actually be derived from any cut of the cow. The difference is that a fillet is already trimmed of extra fat and it is usually free of any bones. Veal fillets are particularly admired over thin cuts of meat because they are tender. When consumers shop for this type of meat for home cooking, they might ask a butcher from where a particular fillet is derived, as it can either be the front, middle, or rump of the calf.
Steaks made from older cattle are generally consumed on their own along with hearty side dishes. The advantage to using a veal fillet instead of steak is that it can be utilized in a number of different dishes. One of the most basic ways that a chef can cook a veal fillet is by browning it in a skillet and topping the meat with lemon juice and herbs. Barbecue and red wine sauces complement veal, as well as tomatoes and goat’s cheese. Veal can also be cooked and sliced to place on top of fresh greens for a different take on the traditional salad.
Since veal has less of a fat content compared with steak, this means that the meat is likely to cook quicker. Chefs must pay special attention when cooking a veal fillet, as it is thinner and will cook even more rapidly than other cuts of the meat. Overcooked veal is evident if the meat is difficult to cut and if it is tough to chew.