When I opt for two courses at a restaurant in Milan, it’s usually an antipasto and primo, but I’ll occasionally opt for the antipasto and secondo if there’s a cotaletta alla Milanese on the menu.
In simple terms, a cotoletta alla Milanese is a Milanese veal cutlet, one of the city’s signature dishes. Cotaletta can also go by costoletta, which means “little rib”, and a few things make a cotoletta alla Milanese a cotoletta alla Milanese. The meat should come from the veal’s rib section and be somewhat on the bone, about an inch think and fried in clarified butter. I’m quite fond of the “l’orecchio di elefante” or elephant ear variation, which is a pounded out super thin veal cutlet beaten. In fact, it’s one of my favorite to get Al Casolet.
I love meat, but I don’t cook it a lot, though I’m hoping that will change soon and I thought a cotoletta alla Milanese would be a great place to start. I stopped in the butcher shop on my corner and got four proper cutlets, and pretty much had everything else I needed at home. Honestly, the most daunting part of the cotoletta alla Milanese was clarifying the butter and after that, making sure it didn’t overcook and I cooked it just right as the inside was super tender. I had Googled hte heck out of the recipe beforehand and found that cooking the cutlet for six to eight minutes on each side should do the trick to ensure perfection.
Breadcrumbs are also quite different here. I got mine from Eats market and they were just super plain bread crumbs, they weren’t like the supermarkets at home. So I added some freshly grated parmesan cheese diced parsley to the mix for flavor. Now this is always the hardest part for me because as far as I’m concerned, the crispier, the better, and I have to say, I struggled with obtaining that perfectly thick crispy golden crust, but I’m getting there. I’ve read tips everywhere for breadcrumb coating include ensuring not to salt the meat before you put on the bread crumbs and also to make sure the butter is super hot so it starts to crisp quickly and doesn’t displace. I have yet to take on the elephant ear version, though I do own a rolling pin, I think a meat mallet might be better for the flattening part.
I also couldn’t help but whip up some roasted potatoes Milanese style (i.e. with the leftover clarified butter, sage and salt) to accompany the cutlet as many places here do serve them. You can also switch up
Here’s how I made my Cotoletta alla Milanese:
4 bone-in veal cutlets
lots of breadcrumbs
500 grams of butter
Clarify the butter – see Serious Eats if you haven’t done this before
I put the meat in the egg then dipped in the bread crumbs and put the cutlets in the fridge for an hour, as apparently, this is another step on the path to breadcrumb coating perfection. After the hour, I poured a good amount of the butter in the skillet and once hot (I waited until it started to take on a caramel color) I put in the first two cutlets. I let them cook and flipped, then did the next two. I put them on a drying rack to dry. After digging in, I realized that I forgot one important component. In the fashion of all Al Casolet, cut up my lemon wedge.
The potatoes were super easy. I peeled them, cut them then did a ten-minute parboil then put the on a foil-topped oven tray. I covered them in clarified butter and added salt and sage leaves (I was out of rosemary) and put them in the oven at 200 celsius for about 30 minutes, give or take.