These cutlets are a classic (and delicious) way of preparing veal. They are particularly winning with a simple arugula salad. While many people have eschewed veal in recent years, there are farmers who raise young calves without cages or confinement and simply sell the meat that comes from culling the herd of extra calves. The resulting "red veal" or "vitello" (two names used to differentiate such veal from the white color of confinement veal) has terrific flavor and is still plenty tender.
- 1 pound veal cutlets
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups breadcrumbs or panko
- Vegetable or canola oil for frying, enough for a shallow layer
- Garnish: lemon wedges
- Separate the cutlets from whatever stack they've been wrapped in by the butcher, pat them dry, and set them aside.
- On a plate, combine the flour and salt. In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly with a tablespoon or so of water. Put the breadcrumbs or panko on another plate. Line the plates and bowl up in that order from left to right: flour, egg, breadcrumbs (right to left if you're left-handed!). Set a platter or baking tray at the end of the line.
- Bread each cutlet as follows: dredge it on both sides in the flour to coat it thoroughly and shake off any excess, dip it in the egg so it is completely covered and lift it out so the excess egg can drip off, lay it in the bread crumbs or panko and cover it on both sides, gently pressing the crumbs onto the surface of the cutlet. Breading the cutlets will be decidedly less messy if you use one hand to handle the cutlets when they're wet and the other to touch them when they're dry.*
- Set the cutlet on a baking sheet or platter and repeat with the remaining cutlets, laying them flat and as untouching as you can.
- Heat a shallow layer of oil in a wide high-sided frying pan or similar vessel over high heat. Add as many cutlets as fit in a single layer. Fry the cutlets until they're golden brown on the first side, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn them over and cook them until they're golden brown on the other side and cooked through 8 to 10 minutes total. Repeat with any remaining cutlets, if necessary.
- Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or platter. Serve with lemon wedges for diners to squirt lemon juice on the cutlets as they please.
* How this works: use one hand pick up a cutlet and set it in the flour, the other to tap flour all over it and lift it out of the flour and into the egg, back to the wet hand to move it around and lift it out of the egg before setting in on the breadcrumbs, and then the dry hand to pat breadcrumbs on the cutlet and transfer it to the baking tray.