FOUR GOLDEN RULES FOR A CHEF’S CUTLET

From an expert in the culinary traditions of Lombardy, we have the secrets for this delicacy with the “handle”. Elena Rasi, former owner of La Brisa restaurant, via Camminadella 23, in Milan, and a cook with years of experience, shows us in her workshop, all the secrets to cook the real cutlet according to the Milanese tradition: which cut of meat to choose, which pan, how to bread and how to fry…

 

cotoletta

Preparing the Milanese cutlet

The cut of meat

First of all, it is essential to get from a trusted butcher a slice of veal very thin and not beaten, about 300 grams and with the bone – which is called the“handle” –. Make sure to ask for a quality of meat that is ready to use, is without the fatty part, (the “cover”), and with cuts at the edge of the chop, on the point of the hardest skin, to prevent the meat from curling.

 

The right pan and preparation of the oil

In a non-stick and not too large aluminum pan, which can contain the entire cutlet – even better would be an iron pan to keep the temperature of the oil constant- heat the corn oil or sunflower-seed oil (not mixed seeds), which burns at a very high temperature and thus gives the right crunchiness to the breading. You need to use lots of oil to literally dip the slice and get a homogeneous browning. Add a knob of butter to flavour.

The Breading

Heat the oil until it smokes. In the meantime, take 2 eggs and beat together both the egg white and the yolk (in general 2 eggs are enough for 4 cutlets). Dip the slice and then pass it once in the breadcrumbs: it will be less heavy and the breading will still be compact. Avoid putting the salt in the egg “because – explains Elena – it would release water to the meat; besides the bread already contains the right amount of salt to flavour the meat”.

The Fry up

After heating the oil, dip a cutlet (one at a time, in order not to lower the temperature of the oil and not to make it too greasy). Keep it in the oil for about a minute and a half and then turn it to the other side for another minute and a half: 3 minutes of cooking are enough to make it crunchy, while keeping the meat soft. Remove the cutlet from the pan and place it on a plate, leaving it on a paper towel to dry excess oil. The cutlet can be served hot or cold, depending on the season.

THE CHEF ‘S MENU
First Course: Spaghetti with fresh tomato, garlic, oil and basil or homemade tomato sauce (boil the vine tomatoes in a pot, pass them, add garlic, oil and basil and cook them for ten minutes).

Second Course: Cutlet Milanese Style with a mixed salad, such as lamb’s lettuce salad, long trevisana or escarole salad and a separate tomato salad (to avoid soaking the cutlet).

Dessert: Macedonia or grapes.

Recommended wines: Barbera, or a wine from Oltrepo ora Freisa which has a low alcohol content.

 

OIL OR BUTTER? BUT WHERE DO WE LIVE?

Fats once, only the word gave dieticians and nutritionists chills: “Fat makes fat” was their motto, so better to consume it as little as possible. Then, in the 70’s, the discovery that not all fats are equal: there are some “good”fats, the vegetable ones, including first of all the olive oil and some “bad”, the animal ones whose are full of saturated fats. Then no butter anymore! Today, the very recent Canadian study PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology), published in Lancet (among the most authoritative international scientific journals) and carried out on 135,000 individuals from 18 different countries, not only it has highlighted that the fat reduction “does not improve people’s health”, but that even the infamous saturated fats, considered “bad”, can contribute instead to reducingthe risk of heart attack and stroke. A real revolution, which finally can dissolve the eternal doubt: oil or butter? Both are fine, even with their different uses. The Extra Virgin Olive Oil gives a few more calories more than butter, but it is very digestible; it has a characteristic flavour, it contains good antioxidants (tocopherols and polyphenols) that make it resistant to heat, Oleic acid, the major constituent, also it helps bone development and it contains no cholesterol. Butter, with a little less calories than oil, it is also digestible; it provides vitamin A and some vitamin D, it is less resistant to heat, it contains more saturated fatty acids; it contains little cholesterol, but consumed in the recommended doses (see below) is not a problem…

When to select one or the other

To season

– Extra Virgin Olive oil is essential for salads, but also for bruschetta and fresh pasta, not with egg, (type orecchiette)

– Butter is perfect raw on canapés and it is the best for fresh egg pasta and stuffed pasta.

To Fry up

The olive oil (not only Extra Virgin) wins for its better resistance to heat, but please cook: eggs fried on one side and cutlet in butter (perhaps clarified, that is, melting and filtering it first).

For doughs

Butter is the master. There is a kind of biscuits made with extra virgin olive oil, but the results are quite different from those done with a good organic butter.

To flavour

In the butter and in the oil the essential oils are perfectly dissolved: so in the first with two pieces of truffle can obtain a gourmet sauce, while the chili find in the oil the perfect wedding.

And what about the quantity?

Modern nutritional guidelines suggest that up 35% of daily calories derive from fat. Translated into practice it means about 80 grams of fat per day. With two tablespoons of oil and 20 grams of butter we can be safe….

 

 

 

Giorgio Donegani