Few foods are more evocative of Austrian cuisine than the humble Wiener Schnitzel, or Viennese Cutlet. As with many simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients are what will make or break your experience with this golden fried treat. Old oil or meat should be avoided and watch your schnitzel carefully, to avoid burning. Eating it fresh is also important, this is not a dinner which gets better the next day. Serves 4
- 4 veal cutlets (traditional) pounded to 1/4 inch thickness (about 5 oz. each) (you may use chicken or pork, as well)
- 1/4 c. flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- Oil or lard for frying (lard is traditional)
- To pound meat thin you may want to place the cutlet between sheets of plastic wrap for easier washing up.
- Use a heavy, flat-surface pan to pound if you don’t have a meat mallet.
- Do not press the bread crumbs into the meat. The crust should not adhere completely, but form a loose shell around the schnitzel.
- Make sure the breaded meat “swims” in fat. Contrary to instinct, the breading will take on less oil than if the meat is sticking to the pan. Also, the breadcrumb topping has a chance to puff up a little, and your clean up is easier!
- Set up 3 shallow dishes. Place the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in one and breadcrumbs in another.
- Beat eggs well and place in the third dish.
- Heat at least 1/4 inch of oil in the pan to 350°F.
- Working one at a time, dredge cutlets first in flour until the surface is completely dry.
- Dip in egg to coat, allow the excess to drip off for a few seconds and then roll quickly in the breadcrumbs until coated.
- Do not press breadcrumbs into the meat.
- Place meat immediately in the pan with the hot oil.
- Do not crowd the pan.
- Cook the schnitzel in batches, if necessary.
- Fry the schnitzel for 3-4 minutes on one side.
- You may want to swish them around a little with your fork to make sure they are not sticking to the pan.
- Turn them over once and fry until both sides are golden brown. Remove from pan, allow the oil to drain off, place on a plate with lemon slices and potato salad or green salad and serve.