Ever since I was a little girl, this classic Italian dish has been a staple in my family for special occasions.
Veal is traditionally very expensive, as it’s made from young calves and isn’t produced as widely as other types of cow meat may be.
Nevertheless, you can always assume that come Christmas time, some Veal Milanese will be sitting loudly and proudly on the table (along with a myriad of other homemade recipes).
I can guarantee you that it’s a staple in many other Italian American households too.
Don’t get me wrong, I love making this recipe throughout the year with chicken breast, and I do this quite regularly. But there’s something so special about the occasional meal where the meat gets swapped with veal.
Maybe it’s the special occasion associated with them, or maybe it’s how delicious the meat is. But there’s nothing as good as some Veal Milanese cutlets. And here’s why:
The red meat contrasts with the surrounding breading, providing any tongue with the most delicious contrast of rich flavors.
Your mouth is hit all at once with sweet, savory, umami, and the slightest hint of bitterness, a sensation that is uncommon in most dishes.
When you consider all of that, it’s no wonder this dish is considered a delicacy.
That’s why this is the perfect dish to bring along to your next special occasion. This Veal Milanese recipe has been passed down in my family for generations, and has changed minimally throughout the years.
Let’s make some Veal Milanese!
Here’s What You Need
Veal: You can buy this from your local grocery store. It doesn’t matter if the veal is bone in or boneless, it’s entirely up to personal preference; just remove the bones before cooking if necessary.
Flour: All purpose flour will do the trick just fine for this Veal Milanese recipe.
Eggs: Make sure to thoroughly beat these with a whisk and add a pinch of salt and pepper to the wash while prepping.
Breadcrumbs: You can also substitute for Panko if you’d like.
Olive oil: Whatever you do, make sure you use a good kind!
Grated Romano cheese: Grate this yourself if you can, it’ll taste much better.
How To Make Breaded Veal Cutlets
Step 1: Take each veal cutlet, removing the bones if necessary, and pat dry. You can pound them with a mallet and cut in half to multiply the recipe if you’d like, or leave them as is.
Step 2: Prep the breading stations. Make sure you thoroughly season the flour, egg mixture, and bread crumbs with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the grated Romano to the breadcrumbs. Set the ingredients off to the side in three separate bowls.
Step 3: Using a fork or tongs, begin to bread each of the veal slices in this order: flour, beaten egg wash, breadcrumbs. Coat each cutlet thoroughly at each station until fully breaded. Repeat as many times as necessary.
Step 4: Heat up a shallow layer of olive oil in a frying pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure you use enough oil to thoroughly fry each side of the cutlets.
Step 5: Once oil is heated, begin to fry your cutlets. Fit as many as possible into the frying pan.
Step 6: Begin to fry each cutlet until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Occasionally poke with a spatula, making sure the cutlets don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Step 7: Repeat until everything is fried to perfection, placing each cutlet onto a large plate lined with paper towels when finished.
The art of breading might seem simple, but achieving that perfect, golden, crispy layer requires a bit of know-how. Breaded Veal Cutlets, or the ever-so-popular Italian Veal Milanese, is a perfect example of how the right breading technique can elevate a dish from good to sublime.
If you’ve ever wondered how to get that restaurant-quality crunch and flavor at home, read on. Here are some expert breading tips for your Veal Milanese:
Dry Before You Fry:
Before beginning the breading process, pat your veal cutlets dry with paper towels. This helps the breading stick better and prevents the cutlet from steaming instead of frying.
Standard Breading Procedure:
Always follow the three-step process: flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs.
Flour: Dredging in flour ensures the egg has something to adhere to.
Egg: This acts as the glue, helping the breadcrumbs cling to the meat.
Breadcrumbs: Traditional Veal Milanese uses fine breadcrumbs for a consistent, golden coat.
Season at Every Stage:
Add salt and pepper or any other desired seasoning to the flour, the egg wash, and the breadcrumbs. This ensures your veal is flavorful through every bite.
Opt for Fresh Breadcrumbs:
While store-bought breadcrumbs are convenient, consider making your own from day-old bread. Fresh breadcrumbs provide a texture that’s both crispy and slightly chewy.
Don’t Overcrowd the Pan:
Fry only a few cutlets at a time. Overcrowding lowers the oil’s temperature, leading to uneven cooking and a less crispy breading.
Use the Right Oil:
Choose an oil with a high smoke point like vegetable oil or canola oil. Olive oil, while traditional, can burn easily.
Monitor the Oil Temperature:
A kitchen thermometer is a valuable tool. Aim for an oil temperature of around 350°F (175°C). If the oil is too hot, the breading will burn before the veal cooks through. Too cold, and the veal will absorb excess oil, becoming greasy.
Drain Excess Oil:
Once fried to golden perfection, place your veal cutlets on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. This allows excess oil to drip away, keeping the breading crispy. Avoid using paper towels as they can make the breading soggy.
Keep it Thin:
Veal cutlets should be pounded to an even thinness (about 1/4 inch or so). Not only does this ensure even cooking, but it also maximizes the meat-to-breading ratio for optimal flavor.
Fresh is Best:
While you can store breaded, uncooked cutlets in the fridge for a short period, it’s best to fry them soon after breading to prevent the breadcrumbs from becoming soggy.
How Do I Serve Breaded Veal Cutlets?
Breaded veal cutlets Milanese style can be enjoyed in many different ways.
You can take this recipe up a notch and make Veal Parmigiana, serving the cutlets with tomato sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, and grated Romano cheese. Use this recipe, substituting the eggplant for veal!
Traditional Italian Sides
Lemon Wedges: A simple squeeze of fresh lemon juice enhances the flavor of the breaded veal and gives it a refreshing twist.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio: This garlic and olive oil spaghetti dish complements the rich flavor of the veal without overshadowing it.
Rocket Salad (Arugula): A light arugula salad drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with shaved Parmesan cheese offers a peppery contrast to the breaded veal.
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes: The aromatic flavor of rosemary combined with golden roasted potatoes is a classic side for meat dishes.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy and flavorful, this side dish is a crowd-pleaser that goes perfectly with breaded veal.
Grilled Asparagus: Lightly charred asparagus spears with a touch of olive oil and salt can balance out the rich flavors of the veal.
Sauteed Spinach with Garlic: This is a light and flavorful side dish that adds a hint of bitterness to complement the veal.
Ratatouille: This traditional French vegetable medley cooked with herbs and olive oil offers a medley of flavors that can pair nicely with the Italian roots of Veal Milanese.
Quinoa Salad: A refreshing quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a lemon vinaigrette can provide a modern and healthy twist.
Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles): Light and low-carb, zoodles can be a fantastic alternative to traditional pasta. Toss them with a little garlic and olive oil for a perfect match.
Polenta Fries: Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, these make for a unique and tasty side.
Sauces & Dips
Marinara Sauce: A classic Italian tomato sauce can be drizzled over the cutlets or served on the side for dipping.
Aioli: A creamy garlic aioli can be a delightful dip for those who love a burst of garlic flavor.
Pesto: Fresh basil pesto can provide an aromatic and herbal twist to the dish.
And of course, you could eat these as I always do; plain, as a snack, fresh out of the frying pan.
However you decide to eat your breaded veal cutlets, just know they will be delicious!
Flavor Infusions for Breaded Veal Cutlet Recipe
Breading provides an excellent canvas for experimenting with a myriad of flavor infusions. Whether you want to ramp up the savory notes, add a spicy kick, or introduce some aromatic freshness, there are countless ways to elevate the classic Breaded Veal Cutlet. Here are some flavor infusions to consider:
Basil: Chopped fresh basil or dried basil in your breadcrumbs can add a sweet, peppery aroma reminiscent of the Mediterranean.
Rosemary: Fine-chopped fresh rosemary or dried rosemary adds a woodsy, pine-like flavor.
Oregano: It lends a robust, earthy note which is quintessentially Italian.
Parsley: Fresh parsley can brighten up the breading with its clean, slightly peppery taste.
Lemon Zest: The zest of a lemon incorporated into the breading mix adds a subtle citrusy brightness.
Orange Zest: For a sweeter citrus hint, consider grating in some orange zest.
Parmesan: Grated Parmesan cheese mixed into your breadcrumbs not only adds saltiness but also a depth of umami flavor.
Pecorino Romano: Another hard cheese that adds a salty, tangy punch.
Asiago: This will introduce a nutty, slightly tangy profile to the breading.
Garlic Powder: For an added depth and a hint of sweetness, consider sprinkling in some garlic powder.
Onion Powder: A touch of this adds a savory depth and complements other flavors.
Paprika: Regular or smoked paprika can introduce a warm, slightly peppery note.
Cayenne Pepper: For those who like a kick, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper will do the trick.
Fennel Seeds: Crushed fennel seeds can introduce a subtle licorice flavor, which works surprisingly well with meats.
Nuts & Seeds:
Sesame Seeds: Mixed with breadcrumbs, they can add a nutty crunch.
Ground Almonds: They can provide a richer, deeper flavor profile.
Poppy Seeds: For a hint of nuttiness and an intriguing texture contrast.
Anchovy Paste: For an umami bomb, consider mixing a bit of anchovy paste into your egg wash.
Truffle Oil: A few drops mixed into your egg wash can provide an earthy, luxurious flavor.
Chopped Capers: These can be mixed into breadcrumbs for an unexpected burst of tangy, briny flavor.
Breaded Veal Cutlets FAQs
Q: Can I make these in the air fryer?
A: Sure you can. Cook them at 375° until golden brown and they will turn out delicious.
Q: Can I freeze these?
A: Absolutely. Place them on a baking sheet or serving platter until frozen solid, and then transfer into freezer bags or plastic wrap. These are good for up to three months!
Q: How can I make these breaded veal cutlets more tender?
A: Simple, by using a mallet. Pound them until they’ve reached their desired thickness, and bread them as you normally would. Note: This might require you to add more flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs to your stations. Use discretion while breading.