One of the Milanese signature dishes is the ‘Cotoletta alla milanese’ and is justifiably celebrated as something gorgeous to enjoy. A veal cutlet is all it may be but it is also very big because it is cooked ‘bone in’. It is best cooked in clarified butter. And it is somewhat expensive.
In Rome, the dish has been modified to a more pedestrian level, using a deboned and thinner cut of beef as opposed to veal, and it is then fried in olive oil. We call this the ‘fettina panata’ (‘fettina’ means ‘small slice’).
Children loooove fettina panata. Even older children known as adults love fettina panata! It is fried and thus perhaps not in the same league as ‘healthy’ foods but should never be sniffed at. Any leftover fettine panate (plural) are served again the following day in an onion and tomato sauce. And fettina panata makes an excellent sandwich filler. It can even be eaten cold and is thus excellent for picnics. The following photos date back to the end of last October. I had bought the meat at the Ariccia Farmers’ Market.
Pour plenty of bread crumbs into a bowl and pour the olive oil into a pan and switch on the heat. In the meantime, remove the slices of meat and, one at a painstakingly time, press them down firmly in the breadcrumbs, on both sides. This is a very important step in the procedure. Do please press very hard otherwise the dish will not turn out well.
You can speed up the procedure by cooking some fettine while carrying on breading the others. If you prefer, you can even bread the fettine in advance and then leave them in the fridge until it’s time to cook them.
A variation on the fettina panata is to bread it a second time, as you can see in this photo. The fettina panata is breaded and then put back in the egg wash and then breaded a second time. The ‘coat’ of breadcrumbs will be thicker and crunchier this way.