a panée is pounding the cutlet into submission, tenderizing and making it thinner and significantly larger. We use either a dead blow hammer from the tool shed, which turns out to be especially handy, or the more attractive and kitchen-worthy metal meat pounder. Both tools do the same thing equally well: delivering a blow that doesn’t bounce back. Once the cutlet has been flattened between sheets of waxed paper, it’s battered using a bath of egg wash, dredging through flour and again through Italian breadcrumbs before quickly frying on both sides in a little olive oil. Then the fun begins, serving it as is, simply panéed, the word perhaps derived from the French pané , which means breaded. It may be pronounced (pah-nayed, pan-kneed) and spelled in a variety of ways, depending on your neighborhood. Parmigiana indicates the cheese, baked atop the panéed veal or chicken, gilding the lily or crowning it with a blend of cheeses (generally Parmesan and mozzarella or others, readily available from Rouses’ extensive cheese selection) and a lashing of tomato sauce. Vincent’s Italian Cuisine (Uptown and in Metairie) calls it out on the menu with either breaded chicken breast or veal topped with mozzarella cheese and red sauce or breaded chicken breast topped with lemon cream sauce. Manale’s calls it Veal Gambero, the famous restaurant’s version of panéed veal with peeled BBQ shrimp. Osman’s in Mobile serves an outstanding veal or chicken Parmesan. Franco’s Italian Restaurant on the Gulf Coast also offers both. Venezia’s in New Orleans’ Mid-City, just down the street from the Rouses Market on Carrollton, has been serving a variation of the dish since 1957 with a creamy side of fettuccine Alfredo. At Rocky & Carlo’s in St. Bernard, you can order panéed veal as a plate or po-boy. A side of mac and cheese accompanies the standards in da Parish with a red (tomato) or a brown (roast beef ) gravy. Excruciatingly rich, a beautiful piece of panéed veal slathered in Hollandaise (another mother sauce) then topped with jumbo lump crabmeat will bring back memories of the really good old days in a serving of a rarely seen classic, veal Oscar. Whether or not it’s a panée at home or by grandma’s house, the applause will make the cook — or Nonna — blush.
Panée for your Thoughts by Kit Wohl
I t’s a meal as comforting as Nonna’s hug when your grandmother’s specialties might include veal or chicken Parmesan and a side of fettuccine Alfredo, pasta aglio e olio or spaghetti with red gravy (we say red sauce, some say marinana, but that’s another conversation). Serve it with a cold, crisp Italian salad for a trifecta of the dinner table and another good reason to visit. If you don’t have an Italian grandmother, then
several restaurants will stand in, or you can easily prepare the feast at home. Veal or chicken panée is thin cutlets of boneless meat slices that have been pounded to about ¼-inch thick, coated in flour and seasoned breadcrumbs then fried in olive oil. The toppings, sauces and sides give the recipe distinction from kitchen to kitchen. The most entertaining part of making
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