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In the culinary arts, the term cutlet is used to refer to a boneless, thin cut of meat—chicken, veal, pork, or lamb—that cooks very quickly and is usually pan-fried. Most cutlets are made by pounding the meat until there’s even thinness and are often dusted with flour or coated in breadcrumbs before cooking.
Types of cutlets
When producing cutlets, the meat is usually taken from the leg or rib section of veal, pork, or lamb, while chicken and turkey are from the breast. Veal cutlets may also be labeled as “scallops” or “scallopini.” While the meat itself is tender, it must still be carefully fabricated to remove any tissue that could be chewy after it’s cooked. On the other hand, cutlets made from chicken and turkey come from the breast, which is already tender.
Regardless of the type of meat you have, when it comes to cutlets, they cook in a short amount of time due to their thinness. Most recipes will call for dredging in flour or coating in breadcrumbs before pan-frying, but you can also simply season the raw cutlets and cook in the oil or butter. Cutlets may also be simmered in a sauce, broiled, or roasted, although these methods are not as common.
There are many classic recipes made from cutlets. The most popular ones are the veal or chicken piccata, and the veal saltimbocca.