BLUE WINDOW | Food Travels in the Alps | Cordon Bleu (cheese and veal escalopes)

CORDON BLEU breaded cheese and veal escalopes


Cordon Bleu is one of Switzerland’s iconic dishes, insanely popular with the Swiss (and everyone else across the Alps, with countless variations) since the mid-1900s. Wrapping a thin slice of meat with cheese and ham is an idea that was developed in different regions of Europe at different times. The Swiss generously don’t wish to claim it as one of their own, content to believe its beginnings are old, and varied. One version suggests a Brig chef found his restaurant filled to the brim one lunchtime. With only enough meat to feed half of the hungry hoards he improvised. He cut a veal loin into 60 pieces, created a cheese and ham envelope, breaded and fried them, astounding the guests with this new dish. Centuries later its popularity continues to increase, selling upwards of 10,000 tons each year in Switzerland, preserving its status as a blue ribbon food.

520 g (8 x 65 g) veal
4 slices (4 x 40 g) ham
4 slices (4 x 60 g) Emmental / Gruyère cheese
100 g breadcrumbs
60 g white spelt / white wheat flour
1 egg
1 tbsp clarified butter
Salt, pinch
Pepper, pinch
2 lemons, quartered (optional)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut veal into eight equal pieces. Take a piece of cling film, place over a cutlet and with a baking roller flatten it, about 2-3 mm thin, season with salt and pepper. Cut ham and cheese into slices that will sit inside each cutlet, trimmed if necessary. Top the filling with another cutlet, pound the edges together. Brush with some of the beaten egg to complete the seal. Gently dust each cutlet with flour, dip in egg, coat with breadcrumbs. Brown all edges and sides in butter, transfer to ovenproof dish keeping them separate, bake for 15 minutes.