Monday, August 15, 2011

Veal Cutlet “Milanese”

Cotoletta alla Milanese is, as the name says, a dish typical of Milan. It is somewhat similar to the Wiener-Schnitzel and there have been much debate on the true origin of this dish. Lombardia has been for long time under the domination of the Austian empire and without any information it is difficult to speculate where the dish has been "invented". The main difference is that the “Milanese” is cooked with the bone and “Wiener” is without the bone. Let’s just say that the Cotoletta is from Milan and the Wiener-schnitzel from Vienna and everyone is happy.
 Cotoletta is in Italian a loin chop cooked with its bone attached. "Cotoletta alla Milanese" is a veal cutlet breaded and fried in butter. It is a very simple preparation but some basic rules need to be followed in order to do it right.
 In Milan, where the Milanese cutlet originates, only choice veal chops from suckling calves are used, the ones that have been fed only mother's milk, otherwise the meat will result stringy and tough. The cotoletta is cut with the bone, and approximately about 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) thick, same thickness as the bone. The meat is then pound slightly to make it thinner and have it cook easily.
 Butter is one of the most important component. The “cotoletta” need to be thoroughly cooked, golden without brown spots. Normal butter would burn and make it look ugly. For this reason you need to use clarified butter that can resist much higher temperatures without burning in the pan. Clarified butter is really easy to make or can be bought in any supermarket.
 Finally the breadcrumbs should be very finely grated from a soft white bread or the interior of the bread loaf. And of course the eggs need to be very fresh.

2  veal loin chops, with bone 
2 eggs, lightly beaten
 2 cups very fine ground breadcrumbs 
8 tablespoons clarified butter 
2 lemon wedges

 Place the pan on medium heat.
Clean the bone removing the skin if necessary. Trim away the skin around the cutlet. Pound lightly the meat to make it thinner.
Dip the cutlets in the egg first.
Dredge the cutlets in the breadcrumbs.

 Press hard over the cutlets with the palm of the hand to adhere the bread to the surface of the meat.
 Put the clarified butter in the pan.
** Please note the clarified butter shown in the picture was freshly made, and therefore still liquid. If the butter was kept refrigerated it would be solid.
 When the butter is hot place the cutlets in the pan and fry slowly for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden.
 Remove the cutlets, place briefly on a kitchen paper towel to eliminate some of fat from the surface. Sprinkle with salt. Serve hot with one lemon wedge on the side.

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