11 October 2012

AUNTIE PASTA: The Last Supper

SARONNO, Italy –  The other day, when I found a recipe for a breaded veal cutlet Palermo style on the Barilla web site,  it made me think about an old episode of Top Chef from Season Five.  In that particular episode, some of America’s best known chefs were asked what they would like to eat if they had the opportunity to choose the menu for their ‘last supper.’  Then, each of the chef contestants was assigned a celebrity chef, and had to prepare that chef’s ‘last supper.’  
 Fabio, Stefan and Carla - Chef Contestants on Top Chef
The only two celebrity chefs I remember were Jacque Pepin and Lidia Bastianich. For his last supper, Chef Pepin wanted something that involved eggs and peas, although I may be wrong about the egg part, but I’m sure that Chef Bastianich wanted roast chicken. What was interesting to me was that each and every one of the celebrity chefs wanted a dish that they ate as a child.  
Me too. If I had to choose the menu for my ‘last supper’ I would also choose  something  that I ate as a child,  and as an adult - breaded beef cutlets. There is something about a simple beef cutlet  coated with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic and fried in olive oil that tastes so delicious to me, I could eat them every day. Today’s recipe, Veal Cutlet Palermo Style, is kind of like my beef cutlet, except it’s made with veal. 
 Trattoria Michelle e Jolanda, Palermo, Italy
I have no idea why this veal dish is called Palermo Style, I couldn’t find any reference to Palermo having any connection to veal cutlets prepared this way in any of my Italian cookbooks or even on-line.  If anyone knows anything about this recipe, would you drop me an e-mail? I would be interested in learning more about its origin.

Veal Cutlet Palermo Style 

Serves 4 
7 oz breadcrumbs
1 ½ oz anchovies
1 oz capers
1 oz parsley
⅜ oz garlic
5 oz extra virgin olive oil     
3 ½ oz finely chopped fresh tomatoes
1 ¾ oz cheese
⅛ oz oregano
salt and pepper to taste
4 veal chops
1 ¾ oz lemon juice
4 oz extra virgin olive oil  
Step 1 - Finely chop the anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley and add to breadcrumbs.
 Step 1
Step 2 - Add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (just enough to slightly moisten the breadcrumbs), chopped fresh tomatoes, oregano, and mix well until a rather dry mixture is obtained.
 Step 2

Step 3 -  In the meantime, marinade the cutlets in oil and lemon, a pinch of salt, pepper, for about two minutes.
 Step 3
Step 4 - Drain the cutlets and bread them, making sure the breadcrumbs stick evenly.
 Step 4
Step 5 - Brown the cutlets on a low heat grill then finish cooking them in the oven at 180°C on a greased oven tray.  
 Step 5
You need to know that the bread mixture should not be too moist, otherwise it will not stick to the meat, and the marinade should cover the cutlets completely. This adds to their tastiness.

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