Thursday, December 07, 2006

In Praise of....

....the Kotlet

Or Cotoletta alla milanese as we like to call it in Italy and from where it's thought to have originated. Milan to be precise and I think it's about time Milan got some credit.

The Austrians call it Weiener Schnitzel, the Poles Kotlet Schabowy. Even the Japanese like it too and call it Tonkatsu. It's popular in Sweden, Australia and Korea. They have a version called Milanesas in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and other Latin American countries such as Mexico and Brazil. It seems everyone has a version!

It's basically more or less the thing everywhere. Meat coated in eggs and breadcrumbs and then fried - the only thing that changes is the meat. Some use beef, veal, chicken or pork and the original cotoletta alla Milanese has to be veal with the bone in. In Austria there are fast food chains that serve mostly schnitzels. Now that's my kind of fast food.

Mike will often ask me what I fancy for dinner and I'll usually say the same thing. Its great comfort food in the winter served with sweet potato mash and great in the summer with a salad. On our trip to Poland last year we had it at least three times. It's unavoidable really as it's one of Poland's national dishes which you'll find on almost every menu. My family in Italy often have it on a Sunday with pattatine fritte (homemade fries) in summer and in winter.

We had it last night with sweet potato mash and ratatouille. It's so easy to make. You just need to bash out the meat until it's nice and flat, dip in a beaten egg, then breadcrumbs and fry.

13 comments:

ginkers said...

Can I be the first one to join your Milanese fan club? As a true patriot I will always prefer a bistecca alla fiorentina but I have always had a soft spot for the old cotoletta. There is something reassuring about it when you see it on a menu, like meeting an old friend.

Do you have any thoughts on cotolette in umido? My Nonna used to make them in a sauce of tomato, onion and peas. My mum still makes it. Absolutely beautiful.

Red said...

My dad used to make cotolette alla milanese! And now that I think about it, I haven't had one since he died. Nobody dares make the dishes he used to make in case of unfavourable comparisons (my dad was genius in the kitchen!)

For a bit of variety he would melt some cheese on the odd one... my life, it was good! We would have it with a green salad on the side. Mmm... lovely.

a.c.t said...

Ginkers, you certainly can.
I've never had cotolette in umido but it sounds nice, I'm going to try and find the recipe. Does it still have breadcrumbs?
Red, what kind of cheese did he put on them? You should give them a go, it's really simple, you can't go wrong.

martinobhoy said...

Do some places serve it with spaghetti or am I thinking of something else?

david said...

I think the Cotoletta was my first Italian dish in an Italian family (obviously after sliced salamini with a hot Michetta and Taleggio).

Simple, a bit of lemon squeezed on top, and patate al forno.

wrinkled weasel said...

Often the simplest are the best.

Spangly Princess said...

mmm you've achieved the unlikely feat of making my fancy a cotoletta first thing in the morning... a testament to your powers of persuasion (and my hangover, perhaps)

a.c.t said...

Martino, I've definitely seen it served with spaghetti in Anglo-Italian places that seem to be a bit confused about how to serve Italian food. It's like having say prawn cocktail on the same plate as a roast dinner (just trying to think of a British equivalent).
David, I forgot to mention the lemon. That's essential!
WW, simplest is the best. There's nothing worse than over complicated flavours.
SP, I think cotoletta is one of the few non-breakfast things I can eat in the morning, along with cold pizza.

Susan in Italy said...

A great way to celebrate St. Ambrose! Happy holiday!

ginkers said...

ACT - I think you just cook it as a normal cotoletta and then add it to a pot in which the olive oil, onion, peas and pomodori have been cooking for a while. Then just let it simmer gently for half an hour or so in order for the meat to take on a bit of the sauce's flavour. If the meat is not the greatest it certainly makes it more tender.

Anonymous said...

yummm :)

City Slicker said...

Coming from someone who is half Milanese that looks delicious.

Nice blog as well. Like the mix of topics. Will check back.

Red said...

My Dad would just cook both sides, then add a sottiletta on top of meat for a handful of seconds, until it was all gooey and melted. Yum!