To the Italians this is Costoletta alla Milanese.  Leaving the bone of the veal rib chop attached when pounding out the veal is the Milanese style, as is serving a little salad of chopped tomatoes on the side.  To Germans this is wiener schnitzel, which usually features a think, tender veal cutlet coated in ultra-fine bread crumbs and then fried until puffy and golden brown.  To the Italians it is often topped with ham from Parma and some mozzarella, with a reduction sauce of white wine and sautéed onions, making it a saltemboca.  The French call it a cutlet.  To Argentines, it’s a Milanesa. Southerners might even call it chicken fried steak.  The Japaense substitute panko for the breadcrumbs and call this dish tonkatsu and they serve it with tonkatsu sauce and a side of sliced cabbage chilled and refreshed in ice water.  Sometimes the Japanese pound it super thin, in which case it takes up a whole plate and it is is called waraji katsu.  Whatever you choose to call it, it is a staple recipe here at the Chateau and we use it almost once a week.

The recipe is simple, but like most cooking techniques, there is a little secret to properly prepare it.  You want the breading crispy and not greasy.  The meat is tender, easily cut with a fork.  The cutlet is pounded thin, the flour kept light, the eggs properly beaten and applied cleanly and then the breadcrumbs properly covering the egg.  Schnitzel recipes say that the cutlet must then swim in hot fat. Not oil, fat. Lard is ideal, but clarified butter is fine, as is duck or goose fat. But we use extra virgin olive oil, which we think is healthier and just as tasty, but it is certainly a bit different taste, so experiment with all the choices for frying.

And, in Vienna, wiener schnitzel is made from veal.  But, we find that schnitzel made from pheasant, chicken, beef, pork, and nearly anything else is delicious.

Cold, left over cutlets cut into 1/4″ slices, make the best sandwiches in the world, served with kosher dill pickles and Manchego cheese, which is another Argentine favorite.  And over half of Argentines trace their roots to Italy, so they know perfectly what to do with a Milanesa.

(5 min prep, 10 min cook)

  • 1 lb. veal, pork chops, pheasant breasts, or boneless chicken breast (also works with beef filet mignon or round steak)
  • salt and pepper
  • milk
  • 1 egg lightly beaten with fork
  • 1 c. Italian breadcrumbs
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F.  Slice into less than 1″ thick cutlets, butterflying the cuts if necessary. Place in between two sheets of plastic wrap.  Beat with meat pounder working from the center to pound flat and about 1/4″ thin.  Place into small bowl of milk while you do the next chop.

Pour flour onto a plate, a beaten egg or two onto a plate, and bread crumbs on another.  Dip one at a time in into the flour, then into to egg to coat, and then evenly into the breadcrumbs.

Heat 2-4 T. olive oil (or try lard, clarified butter, or duck fat for a traditional take on the recipe) in large nonstick skillet.  Fry the cutlets on medium high heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side until just golden brown, but not burned brown in color (we think this is critical with the olive oil, you just want them golden brown).  Wipe skillet clean.  Repeat for other chop.  Place on baking sheet and transfer to a preheated oven for 4-6 minutes at 350F.

While the traditional garnish for schnitzel is only lemon, we like to garnish with tomato salad, pasta sauce, olive tapenade, tonkatsu sauce, barbecue sauce, or whatever.  Serve with pasta, potatoes (try instant flaked potatoes for an easy flare, serve in hockey puck style), sliced cabbage, or a simple green salad.  Can also be baked with a slice of mozzarella for veal parmesan or with mozzarella and prosciutto for veal saltimbocca, and served with pasta.

For an interesting dinner party presentation, try serving with an Indian Homestyle Butter Dipping Sauce.

HOMESTYLE BUTTER DIPPING SAUCE

  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp crushed garlic (6 to 9 medium cloves)
  • 1 small can tomato paste or ¾ cup crushed canned tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (or 1 Tbsp if you are not using garam masala)
  • 2 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups whipping cream

HOMESTYLE BUTTER SAUCE PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a medium pot on medium for 1 minute.
  2. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, or until golden.
  3. It will become slightly sticky, but keep stirring.
  4. Add tomato paste (or crushed tomatoes) and stir well, then reduce the heat to low and add paprika, turmeric, salt, cumin, garam masala, coriander and cayenne.
  5. Stir well and sauté for 4 minutes.
  6. Stir in water and cream, then turn off the heat and set aside until you are ready to serve.

HOW TO MAKE BREADCRUMBS

7 large high-quality sandwich bread , crusts removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups).  Place bread cubes on large microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high power for 4 minutes, stirring well halfway through cooking time. Microwave on medium power until bread is dry and few pieces start to lightly brown, 3 to 5 minutes longer, stirring every minute. Process dry bread in food processor to very fine crumbs, about 45 seconds. Transfer bread crumbs to shallow dish (you should have about 11/4 cups crumbs). Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning.