Stuffed Veal Chop, tell me about your rise to stardom at Gia.
I’m a family recipe, a staple, older than this establishment. Stuffed Steak and I were born at Chiarella’s in Wildwood, and had a good run there for 38 years before owner and chef Vincent Chiarella opened Gia with his wife, Beth, and daughter and chef, Mia, in 2006.
Do you hail from a specific part of Italy?
I’m Italian-American. More of an American-influenced dish with Italian ingredients and technique, capiche?
What’re you made of?
I’m a 16-ounce veal chop butterflied and stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto, grilled until lightly charred and finished in the oven for four to five minutes as per the recommended medium-rare temp. My sauce is prepared by sautéing garlic, butter and mushrooms until the garlic turns a nice golden-brown. Then add a Marsala wine glaze, a ladle of beef stock, peppercorn and me before bringing to a boil and rouxing (thickening the sauce). Almost done: Top me with more mozz and prosciutto, sauce to melt the cheese and finish with a long hot for some heat.
I’m stuffed just listening to you. Any secrets to your success?
I know Mia would say it’s all in the butterfly. I have to be cut exactly in the center or I’ll cook unevenly. When she first started cooking with her dad, Mia had her fair share of lopsided attempts, but now she’s a pro.
How about a wine suggestion since Gia is a BYO.
Definitely a pinot noir—keep the wine lighter on a heavy meal so you can leave room for the Chocolate Ganache.
What do your fans have to say?
How much time do you have? Not for nothin’, but they just can’t believe how tender I am. “Cuts like butter!” they say. And they’re always asking about my sauce. Consider yourself lucky I let you in on that recipe. You can keep quiet, right?
Gia, 3001 Pacific Ave., Wildwood, N.J. 609.729.5959. giawildwood.com
Dinner with Luke Palladino