Cotoletta Alla Milanese
Cotoletta is most likely an adaptation of the southern Italian word costoletta, meaning ribs or cutlet, or it may come from the French côtelette. Though the origin and the spelling of the name are uncertain, the dish itself is not. It is a portion of meat, usually veal, fried in breadcrumbs and in its most famous form, it is called cotoletta alla milanese. Today, the technique extends to chicken, turkey and even vegetables. In dishes like these, the name describes the manner of preparation and simply means that the food has been fried with bread crumbs.
The origin of the dish is as obscure as that of the name and its spelling, with both Austrians and the Italians claiming to have invented it. Proof that cotoletta alla milanese is a Milanese invention is in fact provided by two historical documents. The first is a “menu” from 1134, for a meal given by an abbot to the choristers of Sant’ Ambrogio. The list of dishes includes “lumbulos con panito”, sliced loin in breadcrumbs.
This evidence of a Lombard specialty is quoted in Pietro Verri’s, Storia di Milano. A second item of proof is a letter written by the Austrian general, Field Marshal Radetzky, to the Imperial Staff Officer, Baron Attems. After various comments and pieces of information, the general writes of the cotoletta and describes the method of preparation, speaking of it as a new discovery. Perhaps it was the Austrians who learned the dish from south of the Alps – the Milanese certainly believe so. You probably do not want to get into the middle of that argument.
In any case this is a delicious dish to make and the only decision you need to make is what to serve with the pork. I have given you a number of choices that I think go well with a milanese recipe. Choose one.
Pork Chops Milanese
(Adapted from chef, Jonathan Waxman)
- Four 10-ounce bone-in pork rib chops
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra for drizzling over the pork
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 loaf fresh Italian country bread, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 lemons, juiced (about ¼ cup)
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Place each pork chop in a separate large resealable plastic bag and, using a rolling-pin, gently pound each chop until it is about 8 inches in diameter and about 3/4-inch thick.
Remove each chop from the bag and coat with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a food processor, pulse the bread cubes into fine crumbs (you should end up with about 3 cups of crumbs). Place the crumbs into a large paper bag.
Place the flour in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
In another large bowl, beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Place the pork chops in the flour, coat them well and then dip each one into the egg mixture. Transfer the chops to a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining egg mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Transfer the chops, one at a time, to the bag with the bread crumbs. Close the bag and shake well to coat each chop thoroughly.
Preheat a skillet large enough to hold 2 chops in a single layer. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter and heat over medium heat until the butter is golden brown. Place two chops in the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on one side. Using a spatula, gently turn each chop. Cook for 3-4 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat and transfer the chops to a platter. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to the pan, stir to deglaze and pour the juices over the cooked chops.
Wipe out the pan and repeat this process with the remaining chops, oil, butter and lemon juice. Sprinkle the chops with the Parmesan cheese. serve with one of the side dishes below
Contorno (Side Dishes)
Mascarpone Polenta with Wild Mushrooms
(Adapted from the Cuoco Pazzo Restaurant, Scottsdale, AZ)
Polenta comes in three types of grinds: fine (which has a consistency similar to wheat flour), semi coarse and coarse.
- 1½ cups polenta or ground cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels
- 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- Kosher salt
- White pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 cups thinly sliced mixed mushrooms
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus additional for garnish
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- White truffle oil
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
In a large saucepan, bring 5 cups of salted water to a boil. Slowly add the polenta and whisk constantly until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the butter, corn and mascarpone cheese. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.
In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the mushrooms. Cook until they soften slightly, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until translucent. Season with salt to taste.
Stir the herbs and Parmesan cheese into the polenta and spread the polenta onto a serving platter. Spoon the mushrooms onto the center of the polenta and drizzle lightly with truffle oil. Sprinkle with chives and serve as a side to the grilled pork chops.
Olive-Oil-Braised Broccoli Rabe
Look for broccoli rabe with vibrant green leaves and plump stems. Small-leaved plants are young and therefore mild-tasting.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 medium garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 1 bunch (1 1/4 pounds) broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons julienned lemon zest, plus fresh lemon juice for serving
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
Heat the oil and garlic in a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until garlic is sizzling and aromatic, but not browned, about 2 minutes.
Add the broccoli rabe, zest and 3/4 teaspoon salt, then use tongs to toss and coat in oil. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until broccoli rabe is tender, 7 to 10 minutes.
Transfer contents of pan (including liquid) to a serving bowl. Grind pepper over top and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Spinach Salad with Roasted Fennel and Grapefruit
(Adapted from A Good Food Day: Reboot Your Health with Food That Tastes Great.)
4 to 6 servings
- 1 large fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, then sliced lengthwise ½ inch thick
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pink grapefruit
- One 5-ounce container or bag of baby spinach
- ½ cup pitted oil-cured black olives, halved
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Place the fennel on the prepared baking sheet and toss the wedges with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender and the edges are browned and crispy, 30 to 35 minutes.
Grate the zest of the grapefruit into a bowl. Using a sharp knife, trim ¼ inch to ½ inch off the top and bottom of the grapefruit so it stand flat on a cutting board. Following the curve of the fruit, remove the white pith and the membrane covering the fruit. Cut in between the membranes to remove the fruit and place them in the bowl with the zest. Squeeze what remains of the grapefruit over a small bowl or measuring cup to release any juice still left in the grapefruit.
In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, olives and grapefruit segments. Add the roasted fennel along with 2 tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve as a side to the pork.
Greens and Potatoes
- 4 quarts water
- Salt for the water
- 3 baking potatoes, peeled and quartered crosswise
- 2 pounds Swiss chard or spinach or kale, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large stock pot over high heat, add the water and salt; bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard. Boil until the potatoes and chard stems are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain in a colander.
In a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, divided. Add the garlic and cook until brown. Add the chard and potatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring and mashing the potatoes, until the liquid has evaporated and the potatoes are coarsely mashed. If the potatoes begin to brown, reduce the heat.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix well. Serve as a side with the pork.