Slideshow: How to Prepare Breaded Cutlets

Use uniformly thin slices
Use uniformly thin slices
Use 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick cutlets and trim away any silver skin or excess fat. To get it thin enough, you can butterfly, slice, and/or pound the meat.

Pounding tips: placing the meat in a sturdy freezer bag makes pounding easier and neater. Use something heavy and dull—the flat side of a mallet, the back of your hand, a small skillet, or a rolling pin—to flatten it out with gentle, even blows. Take care not to tear the meat. It helps to start at the middle of the piece of meat and direct the blows outward.

Make sure the cutlet is dry
Make sure the cutlet is dry
Blot the cutlet with paper towels. And have more paper towels ready for draining the cutlets as they come out of the pan. You're handling raw meat and eggs, so remember to wash your hands frequently.
Set up the assembly line
Set up the assembly line
Set up a small dish of salt and pepper and three shallow bowls (or casserole dishes or small sheet pans) wide enough to accommodate a cutlet.

The first bowl is for flour (which you can add ground spices to). You won’t use all of it, but having more than you need makes the dredging easier.

The second one is for beaten eggs (which you might want to mix with a little milk, mustard, or hot sauce).

The last bowl is for bread crumbs (to which you can add chopped herbs and/or grated parmesan). Use whatever kind you like. I make bread crumbs in my food processor out of dry baguettes and keep them in the freezer.

After the flour comes the egg
After the flour comes the egg
Next, dip the cutlet into the egg mixture allowing any extra egg to drip back into the bowl.
Coat the cutlet with bread crumbs and rest it
Coat the cutlet with bread crumbs and rest it
Press the crumbs into the cutlet to make sure the entire surface is well-coated. Allow the cutlets to rest for about 30 minutes before frying them. This will help the crumb coating adhere to the cutlet better when frying.
Heat oil
Heat oil
Select an oil with a relatively high smoke point. My favorite is grapeseed oil but other options include: peanut oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil. Use more oil than you would for sautéing and less than you would for deep-frying. It should come almost halfway up the side of the cutlet.

When the oil has those shimmery streaks in it, it should be hot enough to start frying. You can also check its readiness by dipping one end of the cutlet into the oil—it should sizzle and bubble.

Drain on paper towels
Drain on paper towels
Transfer the cutlet from the pan onto paper towels to drain. Scoop any stray bread crumbs out of the oil and continue with the remaining cutlets. If the oil becomes dark or smoky, start with a fresh batch of oil and lower the heat a bit.

Eat them hot, simply with a squeeze of lemon or with a sauce or condiment.