Meat the Past

If you come to Milan you cannot leave without having Cotoletta alla Milanese.  It is probably the most famous dish here.  I tried my first “true” cotoletta (veal cutlet) a few months ago at Osteria dell’Acquabella, a restaurant specializing in Milanese cuisine.  When the plate arrived I admired the perfectly browned crust.  Then I sprinkled a tiny bit of salt and a light squirt of lemon just as the Italians around me were doing.  As I sunk my teeth through the crispy crust and into the tender veal it was love at first bite.  Now there has been some controversy as to whether this dish originated here or in Austria.  The Austrians have a similar dish called the Wiener Schnitzel.  In the 19th century Milan was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  A chef from Milan went to serve the Emperor in Vienna.  The Italians say that he took the recipe with him to Austria whereas the Austrians claim he discovered the recipe there.  Unfortunately, for the Austrians, the Milanese cutlet can be traced back to the 12 century, long before the schnitzel was ever documented.  So, since I am trying to perfect the art of Milanese cuisine I had to add this ancient dish to my “Milanese Cooking To Do” list.  It just blows my mind that a dish created over 800 years ago has become one of the most famous representations of Milanese cuisine.  It’s so tasty and so easy to make that even the most inexperienced chef can give this a go.

Servings: 4


4 veal cutlets (with the bone)

4 Tbs. flour

2 eggs

2 C. bread crumbs (use more or less if needed…depends on the size of your cutlets)

Salt and pepper to taste

150 grams of butter


  1. Pound veal steaks gently with a meat mallet (I didn’t do this because I don’t have a meat mallet…yet)

2.   Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl mixing in the salt and pepper

  1. Dip the cutlets into the flour covering it, making sure there aren’t any clumps
  2. Pass the cutlets into the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs making sure they are covered evenly
  3. Heat up the butter in a frying pan on medium heat until golden brown…be careful you do not want to burn the butter
  4. Fry the cutlets in the butter for about 4 minutes on each side give or take (this depends on how thick your cutlets are)
  5. Serve immediately with a slice of lemon

As you can see my cotolettas didn’t come out perfectly browned like in the restaurant but hey, they were just as tasty.  Now that’s a blast from the past!


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