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Milanese Veal Cutlet Recipe - La Cotoletta Alla Milanese

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Surfing the net the other night, I came across a recipe for Wienerschnitzel and realized how closely it resembles the Cotoletta alla Milanese: Both are breaded veal cutlets; the Viennese bone theirs and dredge them in both flour and bread crumbs, whereas the Milanese just use bread crumbs, and the Viennese fry in lard whereas the Milanese use butter.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 veal cutlets with bone
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely ground breadcrumbs, lightly toasted in the oven
  • 3/4 cup butter (halve this if you use a non-stick pan)
  • Lemon wedges (optional, the Milanese don't use them but they're the perfect accompaniment)
  • Sprigs of parsley for garnish

Preparation:

Continuing with the introduction, The similarity really shouldn't come as that much of a surprise, considering that Vienna and Milano are less than 200 miles apart and were both part of the Austrian Empire for hundreds of years; though we now tend to think of the various European cuisines as distinct entities we tend to loose site of the fact that the distances separating them are short, and people did travel.

To prepare this you should use veal, though you can, if you prefer, substitute thinly sliced beef -- the outcome will still be tasty, provided that you use good, high quality meat from animals not fed growth hormones (whose use is, incidentally, illegal in Europe): Hormone-laced meats give off great amounts of water when cooked briefly at high heat, reducing to postage stamp size and becoming tough as shoe soles.

And now, the instructions: Trim away any fat, and nick the membranes lest they contract and make the cutlets curl while cooking. Flatten them out between the palms of your hands, pat them dry, salt them lightly, dip them in the egg, dredge them in the bread crumbs, pressing down to make sure the crumbs stick, and shake them gently to remove excess.

In the meantime melt the butter in a skillet large enough to contain all 4 cutlets at once, and when it begins to crackle add them. Cook quickly, turning once so both sides brown, and serve hot, garnished with parsley and with the lemon on the side for those who want it. The wine? A light, zest red, for example Giorgio Carnevale's unoaked Barbera or an Oltrepo Pavese.

Yield: 4 servings Cotoletta alla Milanese.

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