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Scotch ‘Scollops’

The title of this dish is a little misleading. It might have you expecting a fine seafood dish, but rather than scallops these are in fact ‘Scotch Collops’: thinly sliced veal in a rich gravy.

The term ‘collop’ is thought to derive from the French escalope and essentially means the same thing: a boneless slice of meat, which could be fried, broiled or stewed. This Scottish variation offers a rich winter treat, but wouldn’t be cheap to make today: the recipe calls for both oysters and truffles.

There’s another ingredient which is rarely seen today: the recipe instructs that, should a heifer calf be used for the veal meat, then the udder should be cut up finely ‘like coxcombs’ and fried up as a garnish for the dish!

Extract from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies showing an 18th century recipe for "Scotch Scollops"

Extract from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies showing an 18th century recipe for “Scotch Scollops”

Scotch Scollops Excellent

Take a leg of veal. Cut of as thin as possible, ye round way, as much scollops as will fit yr dish, & beat them with [a] rowling pin. Strowe them all over with flower, then put an ounce and half of butter in ye pan & when it is hot, lay in the meat & lay ye same quantity of butter over it. Then cover them with a plate & let them stew till all ye liquor is consumed & ye are a fine light brown. Then put a pint & half of good brown greavy & half a pint of white wine, some thyme & parsley, two anchovys, two onions shred, half a nuttmeg grated, half an hundred of large oysters, some lemon peel, ye juice of a lemon, some morells & troafels that have been first soaked in water. Stew all till you think they are done, then toss them up with a lump of butter rolld in flower till ye sauce is pretty thick & sticks to ye meat. If you cant get morrels and troafels, dried mushroons will do. Put in some roasted chessnuts. If heifer veal, slice ye udder thin like coxcombs. You may lard them if you like it better then plain. Garnish with some slic’d lemon, fryed bacon and forsd balls.

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One thought on “Scotch ‘Scollops’

  1. It may seem odd to us as we’ve been brow beaten into believing that the French invented everything culinary but the French term escalop is derived from the English word collop.
    The word is reimported as escalop in the 19thC, to quote from Kettner’s Book of the Kitchen pub. 1877.
    ‘English cooks are bad enough in their corruptions, but the French ones beat them hollow, and then the English ones, to show off their learning, take up the absurd French names French names and florish them as titles of nobility … The man who says escalope when he means collop deserves a whipping. I am reminded of two lines of Shakespear-
    God knows thou art a collop of my flesh,
    And for thy sake I have shed many a tear.’

    A quick flick through late 17thC French Cook Varenne’s books and you find a similar process/recipe referred to variously as Ruelle/Rouelle de Veau or round/wheel of veal or just tranche/slices as in Fricandeaux , get veal slice it thinly beat it with a knife handle.

    Sorry, rant over, anyone like to buy a slightly froth stained soapbox, one careful owner.
    Grymm, one of the Historic Cookery Team at Historic Royal Palaces.

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