Veal Milanese (Cotoletta alla Milanese) is one of the most famous dishes of traditional Italian cuisine. It’s a tasty veal recipe born in Milan, in the northern region of Lombardy, home to other famous recipes such as saffron risotto, fried meatballs and Ossobuco Milanese recipe.
Veal Milanese recipe has ancient origins: it appeared for the first time in Milan in September 1134, in a menu made for the monks of Sant’Ambrogio. His name was “lompolos cum panito”: loin with bread.
Austrians claim the paternity of this dish with their Wiener Schnitzel, but Milanese veal cutlet is made from the loin, and not from the thigh, like the one made in Austria.
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Veal Milanese Authentic Italian Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 Min
- Cook Time: 10 Min
- Yelds: 4
- 4 veal chops bone-in with loin attached, washed, dried, and sliced the thickness of the bone.
- 2 medium eggs
- 200 g (1 ⅓ cup) of bread crumbs made with stale bread, breadsticks, loaf bread, taralli
- 120 g (about ½ cup) of butter for frying
- fine salt
So first of all the meat: choose bone in veal chops. You don’t have to pound the meat, just remove the small bones and excess fat at the edges. IMPORTANT: Cut the edges in 2 or 3 places to ensure that the meat does not bend during cooking.
How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs
Step 1)– Get a mix of stale bread, breadsticks, Italian taralli and toasted bread loafs (you can use 1 ingredient alone or all together, as you prefer) and chop everything in a food processor until you get a more or less fine mixture. Place in a plate and set aside. If you want more informations, see the complete recipe How to Make Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs.
How to Bread Veal Milanese
Step 2) – Now whisk the eggs in a bowl with a fork and add a little bit of salt.
Step 3) – Then dip the veal into the beaten eggs one at a time, covering well all the meat.
Step 4) – Bread the meat on both sides evenly, pressing hard with your hands so that the breadcrumbs do not come off during cooking.
How to Fry Veal Milanese
Step 5) – The secret of the perfect veal Milanese is to fry the meat at high temperatures (169°C – 336 F maximum, not beyond the smoke point) so that it turns out crunchy on the outside but stay tender and pink inside.
For this reason use clarified butter (see below how to do it). So melt the butter in a pan (you can flavor it with rosemary) then fry the veal one at a time for about 5 minutes per side until golden and crispy.
Step 6) – Remove the excess butter on kitchen paper towels and season with salt. Enjoy Veal Milanese hot with a few drops of lemon juice and some tomato and rocket salad as a side dish.
It’s better to bread the veal at the moment. If you prefer to make the cutlets a few hours ahead you will have to keep them in the refrigerator and dip them again in the breadcrumbs before frying.
It’s possible to keep leftovers in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days. When eating the Veal Milanese, warm it in the oven at 200 ° C for 5-10 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels and serve.
In Milan they use to reheat the veal milanese leftovers taking off the bone and dipping it in a tomato sauce. In this way the veal Milanese become soft and tasty, turned into a new succulent dish.
Freezing is not recommended.
Veal Milanese: Tips for the Perfect Italian Recipe
Veal Milanese is a fast and easy-to-make recipe. But for the authentic Italian Veal Milanese, you have to follow a few simple steps.
First of all, THE MEAT: must be the veal loin with the bone 2/3 cm high (about 1 inch), pink and tender.
Second, NO FLOUR: for a perfect and crunchy breading, you have to dip the meat in the eggs and then in the breadcrumbs. DO NOT USE FLOUR, otherwise the breading will come off the meat once cooked.
The third key feature is BREADCRUMBS: homemade breadcrumbs are essential for perfect breading. So, if you can, do it yourself at home, with stale bread, breadsticks, flatbreads, crackers or taralli. In short, what you have in your pantry.
Last but not least, THE BUTTER: fry in butter and not in oil. Butter is an ingredient they traditionally use a lot in the northern regions of Italy. Frying in butter gives the veal Milanese an unmistakable flavor.
Veal Milanese Variants
The traditional recipe calls for a thick bone in veal Milanese, but the modern variations tend to be made with a thin, boneless veal cutlet.
Very popular today is the famous “orecchio d’elefante” cutlet (trad: elephant ear), so called because it is a very thin and large breaded cutlet. This cutlet is often made with pork or turkey and fried in oil. It’s really tasty and cruncy but very different from veal Milanese recipe. Another recipe for another time.
How to Make Homemade Clarified Butter
You can make clarified butter by extracting water and protein from the butter, to leave only the fatty part. You can make it at home or buy it from the best Italian produce stores. Veal Milanese is fried in clarified butter because it has a very high smoke point and therefore does not burn the meat, but makes it more flavorful and crispy.
The process of clarifying butter is very important for heat resistance. In fact, traditional butter does not last long in cooking, as when it comes to 130°C (266 F) it burns. Instead the clarified butter has a much higher smoke point, up to 170°C (338 F), allowing a much safer frying.
So melt the butter in a bain-marie. After a few minutes you will notice the formation of a surface foam. Take it off with a slotted spoon. After about 20 minutes, the milk proteins will be deposited on the bottom of the pot containing the melted butter and will form a white layer.
At this point, pour the melted butter into a container by straining it through a sieve, being careful not to move the bottom that will be removed. Here you have obtained the clarified butter, ready to fry your Cotoletta alla Milanese!