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What is Veal Parmesan?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2016
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Veal Parmesan is a dish inspired by traditional southern Italian cooking. It consists of a veal cutlet covered with a coating made of breadcrumbs and cheese. Traditionally, the dish is served with a tomato sauce. Though called Parmesan, the cheese used may Parmesan, mozzarella, or another type. Veal Parmesan may also be referred to as veal parmi, parmigiana, or parma.

Recipes for veal Parmesan vary by region. To make a simple breaded veal Parmesan, serving-sized veal cutlets may pounded out until 0.25 inch (6.35 mm) thick. Each cutlet should be covered with flour. Separately, the breadcrumb mixture can be created by mixing together 0.5 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs (54 grams), 1 teaspoon (1 gram) of dried oregano, 0.5 cup (50 grams) of Parmesan cheese, and a dash each of salt and pepper.

Two eggs should be beaten in a separate dish. Each cutlet is then dipped into the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture. Both sides should be well-covered for optimal cooking. The cutlets are then cooked in a small amount of oil in a skillet until golden brown on both sides. The dish is then served hot. Excess fat can be poured off of each piece prior to serving.

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Each cutlet is usually served with a red sauce of choice. To prepare a red wine sauce, red wine may be poured into the same pan and boiled. It can then be poured over the cutlets instead of traditional marinara or meat sauce, if preferred.

Parmigiana dishes can be served in a wide variety of ways. In the Western world, the traditional serving suggestion is with a side or upon a bed of pasta noodles, usually spaghetti, which are usually covered in a tomato-based sauce. Some restaurants serve the meal on sandwich bread. Vegetables, salads, and breads may accompany the meal as well. In Australia, veal Parmesan, accompanied with a salad and chips, is a popular pub meal.

Many other foods can be prepared in this manner. Chicken Parmesan is a popular dish served in most Italian restaurants. It is typically less expensive than veal Parmesan. Vegetarians and people who prefer lighter fare may choose to eat eggplant Parmesan, the traditional Italian meal that the veal and chicken varieties are based upon. Several regional variations, such as the traditional chicken schnitzel dish of Austria and the Parmo dish of England, are also available.

As a food, veal is considered to be controversial by many people. Veal is meat from calves, or baby cows, from cows bred for milk production. Calves are often taken from their mothers immediately after birth and restrained within a small enclosure before they are slaughtered, which typically occurs at 16 weeks of age. For this reason, some restaurants opt to serve alternative or vegan meats instead.

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