This versatile meat preparation has so many names, but all are essentially the same thing and can pump up any ordinary meal. The Milanese/schnitzel/Katsu (& so many more names!) preparation is essentially a flattened piece of meat that is breaded and fried.
Click here to skip the history lesson and head straight to the recipe!
The terms Milanese and Schnitzel are brothers separated at birth. Schnitzels from Southern Austria, German and Switzerland and Milanese from the Northern parts of Italy where Milan (Milanese means in the style of Milan!)
There is great debate on who in this region decided to take some meat, pound it out and bread it, but our money goes to the people of Vienna, home of Weiner Schnitzel! The breaded meat cutlet made its way throughout the region and ended up eventually going global and now you will find the term Milanese far from home in places like Mexico, and South America. It has also been renamed as Katsu, which means cutlet in Japanese. In addition to the different names that this way of preparations has, it also has variations in the way it can be prepared and eaten!By now, you know that we love authenticity, so we have a nice list of the some of the most common names used and some of the ways to use them!
Milanese: A general term for a thin slice of meat (originally pork but now most commonly seen with chicken ) dipped in flour, eggs and unseasoned breadcrumbs then fried in some sort of fat, typically oil but also can fried in butter. Note* while this is typically breaded with regular breadcrumbs, we like to use panko breadcrumbs as it makes for a much more crispier and crunchier crust!
Schnitzel: A general term for a thin slice of meat (typically pork, chicken or veal) dipped in flour, eggs and unseasoned breadcrumbs then fried in some sort of fat, typically oil but also can fried in butter.
Wiener Schnitzel: Wien means of Vienna, but to be called a Wiener schnitzel, it must be made with veal. This has the same preparation as above.
Schwein Schnitzel: German for pork, it is a pork cutlet, made in the same preparation as above.
Jager Schnitzel: A pork cutlet, again with the same preparation, but to be called Jager it must be topped with a mushrooms and typically a brown gravy. Sorry, there’s no Jagermister in it!
Hanchen schnitzel: (this is Julie’s go to- Chicken!) Same cooking preparation above.
Katsu: Japanese term for cutlet, typically with pork or chicken but can also be beef. While also dipped in flour and eggs, the breadcrumbs for this preparation are panko breadcrumbs. Then fried in some sort of fat, typically oil but also can fried in butter.
Tonkatsu: Fried pork cutlet, same preparation as other Katsu.
The names make it seem like there are so many different types, but we also want to point out, these aren’t just breaded and fried things. Chicken fried steak, fried chicken, country steaks, etc are not in this category. What we love about these and what make them different special add that they are thin, tenderized, breaded and fried in fat to make a super crispy, crunchy cutlet that has a good amount of surface area for lots of sauce or a good squeeze of lemon!
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
– (2) 5-6oz cutlets of meat (we used chicken as seen in the pictures)
– 1.5 cups of plain all purpose flour
– 2 eggs beaten, plus 1 Tb cold water
– 2 cups Panko Japanese style breadcrumbs (or breadcrumb of choice)
– 1 cup of neutral oil (we used canola)
-2 Tb butter(optional)
– Seasonings- basics like salt, pepper, onion and/or garlic powder about 1/2 tsp each
Now let’s start prepping!
Begin with trimming the meat, if you buy in bulk and get larger bigger pieces, trim them up. (With our chicken, we remove the tenderloin, cut the bottom tail off and cut the thick part of the breast in half).
You can also ask your butcher or look for thin pieces or if buying in a package, look for thinly cut.
We like nice tender pieces of meat that you can cut with just a fork. We obtain this by a two step method. First up, we take a fork, and stab the meat dozens of times. This will severe the muscle and make it tender, but step two helps out in this way too, with a meat mallet! You will want to use the mallet on a steady surface, and cover the meat with plastic wrap to help contain the spread of bacteria. You want to start gently, working from the outside first, and when you strike, use an outward motion, not just an up and down. The goal isn’t to pulverize the meat, but to break apart the muscle structure, and make the cutlet thin and even for quick and crispy cooking.
Next up, the standard breading procedure of flour, egg, breadcrumb. As a chef, Dean has probably done 1,000,000 or so cutlets, and the easiest way to do it follows.
Use big, wide mouthed dishes. If you can use casserole dishes, perfect, but dinner plates work great for the flour and breadcrumb, and a mixing bowl for the egg. Always have a “wet” hand and a “dry” hand.
Dip the cutlet in the flour, make sure it’s thoroughly coated, shake off any excess.
Then, next into the egg, again make sure it’s well coated, we use a fork for this part, make sure the excess egg drips off.
Finally, into the breadcrumb. In our case, panko! Give cutlet a nice press into the Panko, flip, and press again until the whole piece is coated.
It’s best to prep all of the cutlets ahead, or if you’re like us, prep multiple, thrown them in a zip top bag separated by parchment paper and freeze so you don’t have to repeat the breading procedure every time you want one!
Now let’s get to cooking!
Heat the oil over medium high heat, if you want to add the butter in for that buttery rich flavor, do it now.
When the oil starts to ripple, it is ready to fry. Very gently drop the cutlets into the oil, they should gently bubble away. Let it cook for about 3 minutes per side. The benefit of the thinness, is that it should be thoroughly cooked in a short amount of time. Each side should be golden brown. If you’re concerned about it being cooked through, use an instaread thermometer and make sure it gets to 165. You can also pop it into a low heat oven for a few minutes to make sure it’s cooked through as well, or even just to hold the heat until you’re ready to serve.
And that’s about it! There’s really not much to this, but it’s such an important part to so many recipes and is so versatile!
One Comment Add yours
Those look delish. I’ve always made chicken cutlet as you showed me Dean. I think I will have to broaden my field & try pork or veal. Hmmmm
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