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La Tavola della mia Famiglia: Turkey Cutlets alla Milanese


As a little girl, I perceived my mother’s kitchen as a mysterious and intriguing place where sights and smells and sounds converged to become yummy things for me to eat.    Of course, I understood nothing about the art and science of cooking.   I only knew that after the swooshing of knives, the clinking of whisks, the stirring of pots and the fragrance of garlic and herbs harmoniously sautéing on the stove that I wasn’t allowed to touch,  something wonderful and delicious would magically emerge.  I looked and I listened, and soon I became pretty good at guessing what Mom was making by observing her various “kitchen dances”.

Among the sounds that always brought me running into her kitchen were “tzzzzt” and “tsssss”.   I knew them well.  They were the sounds that a cutlet makes as it first meets the surface of a hot pan, followed by the gentle, telltale sizzle that follows as it fries into a mouthwatering golden, crunchy, meaty medallion.  Cutlets were one of my favorite foods when I was growing up, and they still are.  My mother made them Milanese-style, dipped in egg and seasoned Italian bread crumbs, and served them alongside copious amounts of stewed tomatoes.  I’d positively drown my cutlets in that sweet, lovely stewed tomato juice!  I can’t help but moan just thinking about it.  It was heaven!

This classic Italian dish was originally prepared with veal.  But somewhere along the way, chicken became the more popular choice – probably because chicken is a lot more budget friendly.  Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought I’d try the dish using turkey cutlets.  I think it’s a nice choice for those who aren’t into roasting a whole turkey for the holiday, or who are only cooking for a few.  Traditionally, cutlets alla Milanese are served on top of a bed of greens lightly dressed with a vinaigrette.  The acidity of the vinaigrette provides a nice contrast to the fried cutlets.

Whichever type of meat you choose for your cutlets, the preparation is always the same.  You dredge them in a little flour, dip them in some beaten egg and coat them in bread crumbs before frying them in some hot olive oil.  They can be a little messy, but they aren’t difficult at all to prepare.

Here’s how you do it:


You’re halfway there…..


See! That wasn’t so hard.

Just look at that beautiful turkey cutlet!  And, they are so, so good!  I only had one to photograph because we devoured the rest of them almost immediately.  I had to hide this one.  Shhh! Don’t tell.  I’m saving it for later.

As you can see, I served these cutlets over some nice, peppery arugula.  However, I highly recommend trying them with stewed tomatoes.  You’ll love them that way.  I promise.  Unless, of course, you don’t like tomatoes.  Then, I can’t help you.  I can pity you, but I can’t help you.

If you decide to serve turkey cutlets as part of your Thanksgiving dinner this year, they will go perfectly with all of the traditional trimmings, especially some creamy mashed potatoes and a nice cranberry chutney.  As a matter of fact, I have a recipe for a nice cranberry chutney for you.  But, you’ll have to wait for next time.  Patience is a virtue, you know.

Bon Appetito!