Here we have an American variation of the cotoletta alla Milanese, cutlet cooked in Milan style. With it’s origins in Italy, the breaded and fried cutlet now has many other national versions. A good amount of variations cooked in restaurants are in Mexico and throughout South America and are known simply as a Milanesa, giving a nod to Milan for the dish. In Japan they are called Tonkatsu (pork cutlet).
The basic elements of a Milanese cutlet are that it is breaded with seasoned bread crumbs, quality meat (chicken, veal, beef, pork, etc.) should be used, the meat should be tender, and the cutlet used should not be thick. The thicker the cutlet, the longer it will take to cook, and the likelier the outer breading will burn. Burned to crispy is not an option for the Milanesa. The fried cutlet should be golden brown and slightly crispy but not hard, and definitely not blackened in any parts as that will change the flavor entirely to an unpleasant one. So keep an eye on these when cooking; no walking away for just a minute!
When frying dishes such as this, it is best to use an oil with a high smoke point, essentially an oil that is high heat resistant. Although olive oil would be quite tasty if used, it does not have a high heat point, and will likely smoke and burn before the cutlet is finished cooking. Some oils with exceptional high heat points are avocado, palm, peanut, and sesame. In Milan, lard is used, and that is a good option too.
The key to frying in oil is, allow the pan to heat up significantly before adding oil, then add cold oil, then allow the oil to heat up, and then put in the cutlet to fry only after the oil has reached the highest point for cooking but lower than the highest point where it will begin to smoke. Once the cutlet is fried (approx 3 min each side), take it out and lay atop a paper towel or napkins to soak up the extra oil for about 2 minutes, and then serve.
Delicious crisp chicken cutlets with salad on the side are perfect for a weeknight dinner, and they are quick to make! Recipe is below.
Milanese Cutlet Ingredients：
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, butterflied and pounded thin
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Italian herb sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp thyme
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Lay out chicken on a big sheet of plastic wrap. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin until thin. Try to keep the thickness even and shape intact.
- Combine buttermilk and Worcestershire sauce, and marinate chicken for 30 minutes.
- In a shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, Italian herb sea salt, cayenne pepper, thyme and Parmesan cheese. One at a time, coat chicken with bread crumbs mixture on both sides.
- Heat about 2 cups of oil in a frying pan.
- Fry chicken for 3 minutes on each side. For smaller piece, fry for 2 minutes on each side. Drain chicken cutlets on paper towel. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with salad on the side.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes, seeds removed and cut into chunks
2 cups romaine or other lettuce, cut into smaller pieces
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, sliced
- Combine olive oil and vinegar in a bowl and stir to mix. Season with salt & pepper and add tomato chunks.
- Add lettuce and Parmesan cheese to combine just before serve.
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