Straight out of Sicily, these Italian veal cutlets are also known as Cotoletta de Vitello and have a secret ingredient that keeps everyone coming back for more. Crunchy, breaded, thinly sliced veal lightly seasoned and fried to perfection. This cotoletta recipe makes for a delicious family dinner.
If ever there was a dinner recipe that my kids ask for, it’s this cotoletta di vitello! Passed down from my mother-in-law it’s a recipe that the whole house anticipates.
In fact, some of my fondest memories as a mom are hearing my young kids trying to pronounce “Cotoletta” with a mouthful!
Though you don’t need many ingredients, these Italian veal cutlets come out with a flavor you’ll fall in love with.
Many recipes for cotoletta have a very mild flavor. This variation uses minimal seasonings but comes with a secret ingredient that infuses subtle taste with refreshing, herbal bursts. And with a crispy but savory coating the breaded veal scallopini come out perfect every single time.
What Is Cotoletta di Vitello?
Cotoletta is an Italian word for a breaded veal cutlet. Cotoletta di Vitello is a popular Italian dish that breads veal cutlet and then fries it until crispy. Typically, a blend of breadcrumbs, parmesan, and seasonings is used to coat the veal to add a contrary crunchy texture and savory flavor to tender meat.
Ingredients And Substitutions
White veal: Both red and white veal will work with the recipe. However, white veal has a very mild flavor and will pick up the seasonings it’s paired with.
Breadcrumbs: Any breadcrumbs you have on hand will work. Try to use plain ones so that the power of the spices is not overshadowed by a pre-spiced mix.
Parmesan: Use finely grated parmesan if possible as it disperses through the coating best.
Seasoning salt: This helps balance the flavor of the veal cutlets as a whole and brings out the savory undertones.
Eggs: This is what you’ll coat the veal in before dipping it in the batter so that it really sticks to the meat.
Vegetable oil: is what you’ll fry the cutlets in. Any mild flavor high smoke point cooking oil will work as well such as sunflower, canola or grapeseed oils.
Lemons: Juice the lemons just before you need them as freshly juiced lemons taste best.
Fresh mint: the secret ingredient in this cotoletta di vitello! Chop it finely so that maximum flavor is spread out into each bite.
You can actually make this dinner recipe with chicken as well. Just make sure to pound the breasts thinly so that they fry well.
How To Make It
Though breading veal cutlets may seem like a full-effort job, it really is quite simple.
In a deep-sided plate, mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, fresh mint, and seasoning salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice.
One at a time, dip each veal slice into the egg mixture and hold it up so that the excess drips off. Place it into the breading. Flip it to the other side and make sure both sides are covered before transferring it to a large plate to sit.
Repeat with all the slices.
In a large frying pan, add the vegetable oil and heat it to 350F in the oven. Transfer the pan to a stove burner at medium to high heat.
Add two to three slices of breaded veal to the pan and cook it for 1.5 minutes. It should be golden brown. Flip and cook the other side.
Remove the cotoletta and hold it over the pan to let the excess oil drain off. Transfer it to a plate lined with paper towel.
Keep the veal warm while repeating the steps above to finish cooking all the slices.
What To Serve With Italian Veal Cutlets
One of the best things about this cotoletta recipe is that it can be made for a simple weeknight dinner or dressed up more formally for a three-course meal.
Serve the veal with thick lemon wedges to bring out the mint flavor and consider pairing it with any of the following entrees, side dishes, and desserts to make a complete meal:
- Italian potato salad with green beans
- Cucumber salad with dill
- Pan-fried potatoes and onions
- Garlicky Swiss chard
- Cold asparagus salad
- Seasoned baked sweet potatoes
- When purchasing the meat, it will look like a lot! However, veal shrinks when fried so grab more than you initially think.
- When cooking be sure not to crowd the veal in the pan. Let them touch but not overlap. Otherwise, you’ll have dry spots in your breading.
- You need to get some of the grease off the cutlets from cooking. Once out of the pan lay them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb it. Likewise, as you cook more batches, layer the paper towel over each before placing new chops on top.
- You’ll know the oil is ready to cook the veal cutlets by doing a quick breadcrumb test: Toss a pinch of breadcrumbs into the heated oil. It they bubble right up and start to fry; the oil is ready for cooking. If they sink or are lacking in bubbles, let it heat further.
storage and Freezing
This veal cutlet recipe can actually be made ahead of time and reheated. However, know that it will always taste best fresh.
So, whenever possible, make it as you need it.
Store it: Make sure that the Italian veal cutlets are fully cooled first. Then, wrap each cutlet in tinfoil if possible. This helps moisture not get into the breading so that it crisps back up nicely. Then, place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezing them: Though you can freeze the veal cutlets, you may lose some texture. Follow the instructions for storing them but add a step of placing the tinfoil wrapped cutlets into a plastic bag and then into a container. This helps reduce the risk of freezer burn. Store them for up to two months.
Reheating: If the veal cutlets are frozen, let them thaw in the fridge. You can either bake them on low in the oven or you can quickly re-fry them in oil.
Frequently Asked Questions About Italian Veal Cutlets
Though you can make cotoletta ahead of time, it will always taste best fresh. If making it in advance, make sure to store them individually wrapped in tin foil. When it comes time to cook them, add a tiny bit of oil to a hot pan and refry them until warmed through and crispy.
Though very similar, all of these have some slight differences. Cotoletta is breaded and fried cutlets (often veal or chicken). Scallopini is normally sauteed and then cooked in a flavorful wine sauce. Schnitzel is more similar to Cotoletta as it is pounded meat that is then breaded and fried. So, though all three involve flattened meat, they all use slightly different flavors for the final dish.
More Italian Dinner Favorites
- 15 minute Italian marinara sauce
- Italian veal stew with Gremolata
- Zucchini involtini
- Chicken Penne A La Vodka
- Alio e Olio Shrimp Fettuccine
Easy Italian Veal Cutlets
- 2 lb white veal; thinly sliced
- 5 1/2 oz bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh mint finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
- 3 eggs
- 2 large lemons juiced
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- lemon wedges optional
- In a deep sided pie plate or dish add the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, mint and seasoning salt. Mix.
- Add the eggs and lemon juice to a medium sized bowl and whisk.
- Dip a single veal slice into the egg mixture and let the excess egg drip off. Then place the moistened veal slice in the bread crumbs covering or flipping to ensure both sides of the veal are breaded. Transfer to a large plate.
- Repeat until all of the veal has been breaded.
- In a large deep sided frying pan or sautee pan add the vegetable oil and heat to 350°F.
- Add two or three of the veal slices cooking over medium heat for 1 1/2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Be sure not to crowd the veal. They can be touching but not overlapping.
- Remove the cotoletta with tongs and let any excess oil drain off before transferring to the plate.
- Remove the veal and set on a clean plate or serving platter lined with paper towels to dry any excess oil. Repeat until all fo the veal has been fried adding layers of paper towels between the veal cotolette.
- Serve hot with lemon wedges.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.