Flour, egg, breadcrumbs. Flour, egg, breadcrumbs. Repeat. A process that sometimes comes to me in my sleep—I conjure up hours spent in the kitchen with an aunt preparing food for many. It’s a threefold dipping experience that leaves your fingers coated with thick beanies of doughy buildup. But after, you’re left with perfectly crunchy, oily, and salty patties of golden goodness.
Cutlets are far and wide one of my favorite things to eat. They’re versatile and sumptuous and easy to throw together, granted you’ve got the holy trinity of ingredients on hand: The magic of cutlets lie in a three-part dipping extravaganza. First comes flour, which gives whatever you’re using a light dry coating. Next, a dredge in an egg bath provides a sticky surface for the third and final ingredient, bread crumbs, to stick to. Together, they form a bready outer shell for whatever goodness lies inside.
As for what you choose to dip, the options are plenty. I grew up eating thin pieces of breaded veal, but soon graduated to steaks and chicken. Or indulge a vegetable and make cauliflower cutlets or try thickly sliced eggplant. Breadcrumbs, too, beg for interpretation. Whisk in sunflower seeds or herbs like thyme or sub traditional breadcrumbs for panko.
Not only are cutlets themselves endlessly versatile, but so are the ways you can enjoy them. Start simply with a lemon wedge or go big with melted cheese. Scoop on a spoon of garlicky chimichurri or drizzle with a homey sage gravy. The next day, wedge it between two slices of bread and dress that leftover cutlet with arugula for an on-the-go delight. Here are some recipes to help you get started:
by Catherine Lamb
by Merrill Stubbs
by Amanda Hesser
by Alexandra Stafford
by Merrill Stubbs
How do you cutlet? Let us know your secrets in the comments.