There is an on-going argument between the Milanese people and the Viennese people about the origin of this dish. This argument started at the beginning of 1800 and was stirred also by nationalistic tendencies as it was around the time of annexation of Milan to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The argument continues to this day.

It is said that Field Marshal Radetzky was already fond of the Viennese Cotoletta when he became commander-in-chief in Milan. Once in Milan he immediately gained a liking for the Milanese version. In fact, he thought it was so delicious that he described its recipe in minute details in a letter addressed to Count Attems, an aid of Emperor Franz Joseph. The letter pleased the Milanese people who interpreted it as a sign of cultural identity, and this is often transmitted through culinary traditions.

Unfortunately, outside Italy Cotoletta alla Milanese is the object of deception. Veal and in particular milk veal cutlets bone-in are not easily found, apart from France, Spain, and some other European countries.

In fact, the Cotoletta alla Milanese is made from a milk veal cutlet bone-in and is pan-fried in butter. The Viennese Cotoletta (Wiener Schnitzel) is made from pork without bone and is fried in lard — very similar to the German variety.

Cotoletta alla Milanese is a second course and is often served with a side dish of roast potatoes.

Drawn from Fettuccine Alfredo, Spaghetti Bolognaise & Caesar Salad by Maurizio Pelli.

For info: The Culinary Clinic by Maurizio Pelli.