Piping hot and crispy, served with baby tomatoes and rocket or tempting French fries, the cotoletta alla Milanese (breaded veal cutlet) has no equal in Milanese cusine, if, of course, you have already excluded the famous yellow saffron risotto and Christmas favourite, Panettone, from the list.
How is it made? Tradition requires a slice of beef on the bone (the rib) coated with breadcrumbs and fried in butter. Today in many restaurants, and many people when cooking at home, tend to substitute the butter with oil. However, to tell the whole story, there are really two versions of “cotoletta”: the first in which the meat is sliced generously and it remains soft after cooking, and the second, known as “elephant’s ears” due to its shape, where the meat is sliced more thinly and is tenderized before being covered in breadcrumbs, producing a crispy finished product.
Recipe for 4:
- 4 slices of veal breast (or cutlets on the bone)
- 1 egg
- Butter, extra virgin olive oil and salt
Prepare two deep dishes, one with the beaten egg, the other containing the breadcrumbs. Pass the veal slice first through the egg quickly followed by the breadcrumbs. Heat the butter with a spoonful of oil in a pan and then add the meat slices. Leave them to cook for a couple of minutes on each side, browning slightly. Once cooked, place the meat onto a paper towel to absorb some of the excess grease, salt and serve with a slice of lemon.
It remains true that the combination of the crispiness of the breadcrumbs and the softness of the meat is the real secret of cotoletta alla milanesee: the ingredients are essential, starting with stale, but not old, white bread for the breadcrumbs and the right oil at just the right temperature.
Many great chefs, not just those based in Milan, including Carlo Cracco, Gualtiero Marchesi and Andrea Berton have produced their own version of this dish, never forgetting the right wine to accompany the meal. Our advice? A Pinot Brut Rosè produced from the Pinot grigrio grape: a fresh sparkling wine with enough body to “de-grease” the palate and yet accompany the sweet sensation of butter that you get with every bite of cotoletta.