Is veal parmesan an Italian-American classic? Or an Italian-American cliché? This old-school dish is so beautiful, it is worth a fresh look. Diners tend to migrate to restaurants for veal parmesan because home-cooking it is quite a production. The recipe does have a lot of moving parts. Don’t worry, I’ll guide you through it. The end result is deliciously worthwhile. Enjoy it with pasta or salad, or stuff it in a sandwich.
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) Garlic Marinara, divided
1 cup (250 mL) Panko-Parm Crumbs
1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tbsp (15 mL) milk
1 lb (500 g) veal scaloppini (6 small pieces)
Kosher salt to taste
4 oz (250 g) mozzarella, shredded (1 cup/250 mL)
1/2 oz (15 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (1/2 cup/125 mL)
2 tsp (10 mL) each: finely chopped parsley, basil
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp (5 mL) chili flakes (optional)
6 small basil leaves
Prepare Garlic Marinara recipe (without optional pepper or butter). Prepare Panko-Parm Crumbs recipe. (You will have lots left over. Refrigerate or freeze remaining marinara and crumbs for other uses.)
Spread crumbs across large plate. Spread flour across another large plate. In wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until loosened and slightly frothy.
Lay wire rack on work surface. Lightly sprinkle veal with salt. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture, shaking off excess. Dip in crumbs, pressing to coat. Transfer to rack. Let sit 15 minutes, or until dry.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, toss together mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley and basil.
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Cover rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.
In 12-inch (30 cm) skillet (preferably cast iron), heat 1/4 cup (60 mL) oil on medium-high until shimmery. Add 2 pieces veal. Fry, turning once, 2 minutes, or until golden-brown. Drain on prepared paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Add 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil to pan. Repeat frying, draining and salting another 2 veal pieces. Repeat with remaining 2 tbsp. (30 mL) oil and veal.
Spread 3/4 cup (250 mL) marinara over bottom of 11×15 inch (28×38 cm) baking dish. Top with veal pieces in single layer, close together or slightly overlapping if necessary. Top with remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) marinara, spreading along centre of each piece, leaving edges uncovered. Mound cheese overtop. Cover dish with foil.
Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes, or until cheese is molten. Uncover and bake 5 minutes, or until veal is cooked through.
Let sit 5 minutes, or until set enough to remove in neat portions without oozing. Sprinkle on chili flakes or serve alongside (if desired). Garnish each piece with basil leaf.
Makes 6 servings.
- I find that a standard 9×13 (xx cm) baking dish is not quite large enough, so I use my 11×15 inch (28×38 cm) lasagna pan. If you don’t have one, use a pan that will hold the veal in a sorta single layer. A slight overlap is okay. If the sides of the pan are low, grease the foil.
- The veal looks nicest when the edges are left uncovered.
Oh No: The veal will end up overcooked if you fail to keep the oil temperature high or fry too long. The goal: turning the crust golden-brown without cooking the veal thoroughly. (The veal will finish cooking in the oven.) The oil temperature should be between 375F and 400F (190C and 200C). But you don’t have to fuss with a thermometer. Steady medium-high heat will do the job.
Make-Ahead: Prepare Garlic Marinara and Panko-Parm crumbs in advance. They can be refrigerated or frozen.
S is for Scallopini: Thin, boneless cutlets are called scallopini. They are thinly sliced or pounded to no more than 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) thick. Supermarkets sell various types, veal being the most common. If too thick or uneven, pound them yourself.
Veal Parmesan Sandwiches
Don’t stop for fast food. Slip veal parms into crusty, sub-shaped rolls. (A round bun is the Italian sub shop norm around here, but given the shape of the veal, seems unreasonable.) Add heat with roasted peppers. Sautéed onions and mushrooms are other delicious takeout joint options.
CREDIT: SUSAN SAMPSON
TESTED IN IMPERIAL