German Gasthauses (small hotels) serve this common dish, and this recipe is as good as when I lived in Heidelberg as a boy. A good schnitzel should be light and crispy on the outside, but tender and moist on the inside. An authentic cutlet plate is served with pan-fried potatoes or spaetzle, and, beer or Riesling wine.
4 slices of veal, about 1/3 pound per cutlet (or pork)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (one large juicy lemon)
2 tablespoons water
dash of salt to taste
3/4 cup vegetable oil or organic vegetable shortening flour mixture
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper egg mixture
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk bread crumb mixture
1 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, day old is best
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 clove garlic garnish
1 lemon sliced in wedges or disks
4 parsley sprigs
Pound meat with a textured mallet to 3/4 thickness. This not only tenderizes, but creates valleys for the batter to bind.
Combine lemon and water in a glass bowl. Marinate and turn meat for 15 to 60 minutes - no longer or the meat loses its flavor.
As cutlets soak, prepare three shallow dredging dishes for flour, egg-milk, and bread crumb. First dish: thoroughly combine flour, salt, and white pepper. Second dish: whip egg into milk. Third: In a food processor or blender, process bread crumbs and garlic; as crumbs form add parsley and run 10 seconds more. Note, if crumbs are too large they will peel off when cooking. Pour bread mixture into final dish.
Remove meat from marinade, lightly pat dry. It cannot be wet or the batter will not adhere when cooking.
Dredge cutlets front and back - first in flour and pat off excess, then in egg mix, then in crumbs.
Refrigerate breaded meat at least 15 minutes so egg breading will set.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering, then gently place cutlets in pan. Fry cutlets until golden, then turn over. To insure a crispy cutlet, do not crowd the pan and keep heat steady.
Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.
original recipe yield: 4 Servings
NOTE On Substitutions: Schnitzels can be made with different meats. Wiener schnitzel (Vienna cutlet) is made from veal. In modern times we often use pork, which is called Schweinerschnitzel. Chicken breast is Huhnschnitzel.
Breadcrumb mixes have a wide variation. An Asian version uses Panko and is crispy. Traditional Austrian/German crust uses hearty days old bread and has a somewhat moist-inside, earthy quality. For lemons, we prefer Meyers. If you have none, white vinegar works.
Frying oil must be fresh. As a boy we fried in pork lard. In later times vegetable oil. Lately we've been using organic vegetable shortening made by Spectrum. Palm oil is one of the ingredients. Oil temperature needs monitoring. After 3-4 minutes of cooking, oil gets hotter, so consider bringing it down some. Cook with your senses. Listen for a steady sizzle. Smell for a cooking bread quality. Lift the cutlet and check the hiney (bottom). Too hot and crumbs start to blacken, too cold and crumbs stay pale yellow. Look for a light golden color.