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WIENER SCHNITZEL

My kids love Winer Schnitzel! A true summer food in my opinion, as it is time to go to the “Biergarten” and on road trips and to restaurants serving “gut bürgerliche Küche” - a term which describes a restaurant serving home style traditional German food - most preferred by my parents. Kids always order Schnitzel with Pommes (fries) without ever checking the menu. It’s served with a salad and a lemon slice which will have to do for vegetables. Or serve it with potato salad - add some cucumbers to that and you are all set. 

I always use pork for my Wiener Schnitzel instead of veal. So the correct and proper name for this dish (by law) should actually be “Schnitzel Wiener Art” because a true “Wiener Schnitzel” is always made of veal. Wiener Schnitzel is an Austrian invention dating back to the 18th century. The earliest written documentation of a Wiener Schnitzel dates back to 1768. There is even documentation dating to 1719 about the Austrian practice of breading and frying vegetables and meat. 

There are some entertaining stories about the Italian origin of the Wiener Schnitzel which appear to be completely invented in the 1860s when relationships between Italy and Austria were rather tense. The author, Felice Cùnsolo, embellished anecdotes that claimed that the Wiener Schnitzel was a copy of the Milanese “cotoletta alla milanese”. He published an invented legend claiming that the field marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz brought the recipe from Italy to Vienna in 1857, in his book “Guida gastronomica d’Italia”. This story was very convincing and deceived many cookbook authors. 

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops or 4 pieces of veal scaloppine or eye round, cut across the grain

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups plain dried bread crumbs
  • 3 teaspoons of salt
  • fresh pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Lemon wedges

Begin by trimming the fat off the meat. Pound the pork loin chops with the flat side of a meat cleaver until they are about 1/4 inch thick. You can place the pork loin chops in between two pieces of plastic wrap while pounding.

Pour the flour in a shallow dish and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and fresh pepper to taste. Combine the eggs and the milk in another shallow dish, whisk lightly. Pour the bread crumbs in a third dish and season with 2 teaspoons of salt. Continue as follows: Dredge each piece of pork in flour pressing gently, then in the egg and finally into the bread crumbs. Press the bread crumbs onto the pork to obtain a nice even coating.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lay the pork cutlets on the sheet pan in a single layer. Refrigerate uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. This allows the coating to dry out a little.

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Heat the oil together with the butter in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the thyme sprig and gently fry for about 1 minute. This infuses the oil with a subtile thyme flavor. Remove the thyme sprig and reserve for garnish. Carefully lay the cutlets into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to drain for just a moment and then immediately serve garnished with lemon wedges and the fried thyme sprig.

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Serve with potato salad or some french fries. I like to have a big salad with my Schnitzel and some quick pickled cucumbers.

SOURCE: A TRADITIONAL RECIPE

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