minette’s escalope "milanese" with chopped tomato basil sauce


escalope milanese (or breaded veal) has been a favorite dish of mine ever since i first tasted it on a family trip to rome.  i must have been only about eight or nine years old, but for some reason (probably relating to my love of food-and the fact that we are talking about ROMA, after all) the details remain vividly alive in my mind. although we visited what seemed like an endless string of museums, cathedrals, and stores, what i remember the most is the food: the unbelievably delicious and welcoming smell of coffee (one of my first loves) everywhere as we started our days (and begging my parents for a few spoonfuls of the foam that carried just a hint of it), the antipasto that sat beautifully on the sideboards in restaurants, cheesy panini sandwiches, glistening gelatos, prosciutto sandwiches, rocket (arugula) salads, amazing pizzas, and endless bowls of pasta. i think if i close my eyes and concentrate i can almost smell and taste that first escalope milanese-it had been a long day and we were tired and hungry. we were looking for a restaurant that had come highly recommended, but got lost and couldn’t find it-that’s when we came across this neighborhood restaurant where we were guided down a narrow staircase to a welcoming room full of happily eating people. the waiter almost ordered the escalope for me-and i’m so happy he did-it was a memorable meal!
ingredients to serve 4:
  • 8-10 escalopes of veal (thinly sliced veal cutlets)
  • 2-3 organic eggs
  • 1 lemon (1/2 of the juice plus the zest)-instead of milk as another option
  • 1-2 tsp dijon mustard
  • sea salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup or so olive oil (or vegetable oil of choice) for frying
  • 1-2 cups good quality organic bread crumbs (preferably home made: grind up good dried bread in a food processor)-or for gluten free: a combination of almond meal and ground parmesan cheese can be substituted
tomato topping:
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cubed (or  1 cup baby tomatoes sliced in halves or quarters)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil (chiffonade)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
1. combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, and optional garlic in a small bowl and set aside. add eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice (1-2 tbs), sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste), and mustard to a deep bowl and whisk together.
2. pour the bread crumbs on a large cutting board (or in a large platter). dip the veal (if your veal is thick it needs to be pounded: place your veal cutlet between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap on a wooden cutting board and pound them to a thickness of 1/8” using a meat mallet or the back of a skillet. *when my veal is thin to begin with, i skip this stage and use my hands to spread the veal out by pressing down on it as i bread.
3. dip the veal cutlets into the egg mixture, then coat them with the bread crumbs on both sides (pressing down lightly).
4. heat the oil in a heavy skillet and fry the veal on medium/high heat on both sides until golden brown.

5. top with marinated tomatoes just before serving with a lemon wedge and a side of arugula salad. buon apetito!

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