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What is Veal Oscar?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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Veal oscar is a type of entree made with veal cutlets or veal medallions, asparagus, and lobster or crab meat. It is then topped with Bearnaise sauce. The dish is reportedly named for King Oscar II, who was king of Sweden and Norway in the late nineteenth century. There are a few different methods of preparation for veal oscar, though it is possible to make the dish fairly simply.

Begin with approximately one dozen asparagus spears, as well as a few veal cutlets; increase or decrease the amount of food purchased depending on the amount of servings desired. Only a small amount of cooked lobster or crab meat is required, but again, more may be added if desired. The Bearnaise sauce should be prepared in advance; this type of sauce is similar to Hollandaise sauce, and is made with butter emulsified in egg yolks, typically with the addition of peppercorns and onions.

Steam the asparagus until it is cooked but still crisp; it should not be soggy. Then, dredge the veal cutlets in flour, and saute them in a pan over butter until they are cooked as well. It is a good idea to begin creating the plates individually for the veal oscar; place an individual veal cutlet on each plate, top it with the cooked lobster or crab meat and a few asparagus spears, and place the Bearnaise sauce on top. It is now ready to enjoy.

This is one of the most basic recipes for veal oscar, but there are dozens of variations to be found in cookbooks or online. For example, salt and pepper may be added to the flour to make the veal itself more flavorful; onion or garlic may be added as well. The Bearnaise sauce can also be altered to make it richer or more flavorful for this dish.

Wine or champagne vinegar may be added to the sauce, as well as tarragon. To make it slightly healthier, the cutlets may be cooked in olive oil instead of butter, but the Bearnaise sauce tends to make the dish fairly fattening no matter what way the veal is cooked. Veal oscar is a popular dish that is often found on the menu in Italian restaurants, even though it is not an Italian dish. Sometimes, it is made with chicken instead of veal in Italian restaurants as well. It is also a popular dish to serve at weddings.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By wander — On Aug 20, 2011

There is actually quite a bit of argument over whether or not Bearnaise sauce or Hollandaise sauce is used to make traditional veal oscar. From what I have found out it seems that Hollandaise sauce is the preferred choice of food connoisseurs.

Hollandaise sauce is much tastier in my opinion and much easier to make than Bearnaise sauce. In its simplest form all you need is eggs, butter and fresh lemon. Anything else you add to Hollandaise sauce just takes away from the authenticity of the dish in my opinion.

I suggest trying both and see which sauce you feel has the better flavor.

By MrSmirnov — On Aug 20, 2011

Veal oscar is a fantastic dish and is great if you are looking to serve something hearty and filling. The only trouble I have found in making it is getting a recipe that really does the Bearnaise sauce justice.

There are a lot of Bearnaise sauces online and the quality of them varies greatly. For myself I won't touch a recipe if it doesn't include lemon juice in the Bearnaise sauce. Without the added lemon juice the sauce tastes awful and just doesn't have any depth to the flavor.

I have actually spotted a few published recipes online that were missing the lemon juice. Reviews speak for themselves. Terrible sauces.

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