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A fried veal cutlet is a classic dish that we don’t cook quite enough. Veal is a very flavorful cut of meat. Plus, it’s really easy to prepare and doesn’t require a lot of bells and whistles. There is no need to be intimidated by this cut of beef. You can find high-quality veal cuts from your local butcher. Though veal cutlets can be more expensive than regular cuts of beef, it’s well worth it.
This veal cutlet has a panko breading that’s fried in melted butter. Then, we’ll top it with a tomato sauce seasoned with anchovies and finish with salty, rich parmesan.
That’s it. Simple but so delicious. Some of the best meals are made with a few fresh ingredients and elevated with butter and salt. It doesn’t really get more wholesome than that.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced
- 6 anchovies packed in oil and smashed to a paste
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves chopped
- 28- ounce can of whole tomatoes
- 6 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 lemon juiced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 veal cutlets pounded thin
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for garnish
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
To make the sauce:
- Add the olive oil, garlic, and shallots to a large saucepan. Saute for 1-2 minutes until the garlic and shallots soften.
- Add the Italian seasoning and anchovies. Stir to mix everything together.
- Pour the tomatoes into the pan and smash to break them in the pan. Add the tomato sauce and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and turn to low heat and let the sauce simmer for 4-5 hours.
To fry the veal cutlets:
- Make sure that the veal cutlets are pounded thin. This will ensure that they cook quickly and without burning the buttery breading.
- Set up a dredging station in shallow containers. You will need three shallow bowls or containers.
- Whisk the eggs with the salt and pepper in one container.
- The flour goes into another container.
- And finally mix the panko and the bread crumbs into the third container.
- Working with one veal cutlet at a time, place the cutlet into the flour first.
- Then dip into the egg and then into the bread crumb mixture. Set aside on a plate while you bread the other cutlets.
- In a shallow frying pan (a cast-iron skillet works well for this) heat two tablespoons of butter.
- Fry the veal cutlets 1-2 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. You also may need to melt more butter as you fry each cutlet. You can keep the other cutlets warm in the oven as you cook.
- Ladle a generous amount of the tomato sauce onto each serving plate.
- Place one veal cutlet on top of the sauce.
- Using a cheese grater, grate Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the sauce and the veal cutlet.
- Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
- Enjoy your Best Fried Veal Cutlet!
Notes & Tips
- The tomato sauce yields more than you’ll need for this recipe. But it’s best to do it this way because you need to open the full can of tomatoes and sauce. Save the tomato sauce for another use. You can also freeze it for another day.
- The panko bread crumbs are the key ingredient for the crispy, light breading. Panko and butter are perfect together. Yes, it’s a lot of butter, but completely worth it for this recipe.
- Be sure to use unsalted butter. Omit the salt from the recipe if you can only use salted butter.
- Let the veal cutlets sit at room temperature for about ten minutes before working with them. You want to take the chill off from being refrigerated. This will allow the cutlets to cook quicker and not burn the crispy breading.
- This recipe will work well with chicken breasts, too. Just be sure to pound them out nice and thin so they cook quickly and get the crispy crust you’re looking for.
- It’s ok to use a high-quality jarred tomato sauce if you don’t have time to make your own.
- The lemon juice in the sauce provides a tangy finish that brings the rest of the sauce to life. You could use two ounces of white wine, instead.
- If you’re a little hesitant about using the anchovies, it’s ok! The anchovies provide the saltiness to the sauce. You can omit them and taste to see if you need to add more salt. You could also add more Parmigiano Reggiano cheese right to the sauce to make it saltier.
Can You Make Veal Cutlets in an Air Fryer?
A lot of us are resorting to the ever-so-popular air fryer these days for our fried food fixes. It’s a really handy appliance to have around. And most of them yield great results without having to fry your food in fatty oils or melted butter.
While I think that making this recipe “as-is” is the best way to make the best fried veal cutlet, it’s understandable if you want to try a healthier method.
If you want to make a veal cutlet in an air fryer, simply proceed with the steps in this recipe and stop once you have breaded the cutlets. Now, instead of frying in a pan, you’ll use the air fryer.
Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick spray. This is really important so that the cutlet doesn’t stick to the basket. Next, lightly spray both sides of the veal cutlet as well.
Place the basket into an air fryer that’s been pre-heated to 400F. Then you’ll cook the veal cutlets for about 8-10 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.