Seasonal Flavors: Cotolette and Sage

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by Elena Day

This July was the worst in my in my sixty-something (perhaps now slightly failing) memory.  First the searing heat and then the derecho and paucity of rain.  My flower beds are abysmal and it’s difficult to coax vegetables to the bountiful fruition I have come to expect.

I can’t keep myself from sharing one more gripe. July also brought us the VDOT’s  glyphosate (Monsanto Roundup Ready) spraying, an “uglification” program that replaced the wildflowers that were most lovely this year with dead zones along Virginia’s highways. I imagine when there is no green cover or forage, insects, reptiles and amphibians are likely decimated. I’ll say no more.

I am hoping for better weather-wise in August.

This month the recipe is easy as I think it’s best to spend less time in the kitchen further heating up the house. Growing up we often had Cotolette alla Milanese, which are really Wienerschnitzel or breaded veal cutlets. At some point my mother started nixing veal and then beef from our menus and resorted to making the Cotelette with chicken.

In recent years I have made sage pesto as a complimentary  condiment. Sage pesto is also a great spread on tomato sandwiches this time of year.

Chicken Cotolette alla Milanese 

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tbsp butter
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • I large clove of garlic sliced
  • 1-2 tsp dried  or fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges

Cut breasts laterally so that they are of a lesser thickness.  Pound them if necessary with a mallet or the bottom of a glass.

Heat up olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add garlic and rosemary.

Dredge chicken breasts in beaten egg and then in breadcrumbs.

Sauté breaded breasts over moderate heat, flipping once, until done and a little browned.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve each  with a wedge of lemon or a good dab of sage pesto.

 Sage Pesto

  • ¼ cup parsley
  • 1 cup packed sage leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan 
  • or Romano cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 
  • a touch of lemon zest
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Grind up first 7 ingredients in food processor. Add olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.