Veal Parmesan, or Veal Parmigiana, is a classic Italian dish composed of crispy breaded veal, rich tomato sauce, and melty Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. This simple meal is worthy of a special occasion!
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Veal doesn’t have to be confined to the menus of your favorite Italian restaurants. This versatile cut of meat is easy to prepare, and today I’m answering all your veal questions: what it is, where to buy it, and how to make the best Veal Parmesan around!
All About Veal
Veal refers to the beef that comes from young cattle, which is nutritionally dense, extremely lean and contains essential nutrients like zinc, protein and B vitamins. Veal is known for its tender texture and delicate flavor, and can be purchased in many of the same beef cuts you’re probably already familiar with-roasts, chops, ribs, ground and cutlets. For Veal Parmesan, we’ll be using veal cutlets or veal scallopini.
Veal calves live in indoor group pens where they are protected from the weather and can socialize, and also have constant access to veterinary care and fresh food and water.
Where to Find Veal
Most local butcher shops and some specialty grocers carry veal. I always recommend calling ahead of time to ask. Italian grocery stores are another great place to look for veal.
When buying veal, look for a cut that is creamy pink in color with a fine-grained texture. If there is a fat covering, it should be milky white.
What’s the difference between veal cutlets and veal scallopini?
A veal cutlet, also known as round steak, is usually taken from the top round or leg and cut into steaks that are about 1/4 inch thick.
Veal scallopini is taken from the same part of the calf, but it’s pounded very thin. Both scallopini and cutlets are great for pan frying and sauteeing.
I prefer using veal scallopini for Veal Parmesan. If you can’t find it, simply place a veal cutlet between two pieces of parchment paper and use a meat mallet or heavy rolling pin to pound it very thin.
How to Make Veal Parmesan
You might be surprised how easy it is to make Veal Parmesan. With just a few simple ingredients, you’ll have crispy breaded veal topped with warm marinara and melty cheese.
First, if you’re using veal cutlets, place them between two pieces of saran wrap and use a meat mallet or heavy rolling pin to pound them to about 1/8 inch thick. If you’re using veal scallopini, move on to the next step.
- We’ll start by seasoning the veal with salt and pepper then breading it.
- Fill one bowl with flour, one bowl with lightly beaten eggs, and one bowl with a seasoned breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese mixture.
- Dip the veal in the flour mixture, coating it on both sides. Transfer it to the eggs, again making sure the mixture coats both sides.
- Finally, dip it in the breadcrumb mixture, then shake off any excess.
- Now, we saute! Add some olive oil to a large skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the veal cutlets and cook, 2-3 minutes a side, until crispy. The veal cooks quickly since it’s so thin.
- Transfer the veal to a greased baking sheet and top with Parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, and fresh mozzarella cheese slices. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, adding a 5 minute broil at the end to get the cheese nice and brown and bubbly.
- Top with fresh parsley and serve on its own or with Garlic Green Beans, a garden salad, or cooked pasta.
Veal Parmigiana Cooking Tips:
- Store bought ingredients like jarred tomato sauce and Italian breadcrumbs save time in the kitchen, but you can feel free to make your own. We love the homemade tomato sauce featured in these Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs or Giant Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs. Check out this homemade breadcrumb tutorial if you want to make your own!
- Veal chops, roasts, and steaks can all be marinated for up to five days. However, I’ve found Veal Parmesan doesn’t even need a marinade since there’s so much flavor in the breading and sauce!
- The key to tender, juicy veal is to not overcook. Thin veal cutlets only need to sauté for a few minutes!
- Feel free to replace the mozzarella cheese slices with provolone if you prefer.