In Search of the Perfect Schnitzel Recipe
Schnitzel often doesn’t love us back:
Too many diners complain that they love it but are disappointed that they get so easily dried out.
My daughter-in-law Ruthie makes the best schnitzel but always keeps insisting she does nothing in particular, so I decided to spy on her once when she made the dish, from beginning to end. The result is some friendly troubleshooting for everyone.
Golden Guidelines for the Perfect Schnitzel:
• You will find my guidelines for frying very useful.
Dry them thoroughly with paper towels before frying so they don’t get soggy.
• Pound them evenly so they cook evenly, and only the spots that look thicker than the rest of the cutlets.
• Don’t pound them any thinner than ⅓ inch.
• Don’t cook them over very high heat, as chicken breasts are sensitive to excessive heat and might scorch
• Cook the schnitzel until almost, but not completely, cooked. Keeping them warm in a very low temperature oven will do the rest of the job until serving time, and get them cooked to perfection.
Make your own Bread Crumbs:
We all have little chunks of bread we hate to throw away. Don’t hesitate to make your own bread crumbs, including Gluten-Free; they will taste much better than store-bought. Put a few pieces of stale bread in a food processor and grind for a few seconds—that’s the whole story.
One more good choice for bread crumbs: the Japanese Panko crumbs are very dry, and have a decent and very short list of ingredients. You will end up with a super crunchy schnitzel: yum!
On Gourmet Days: You will end up with a wonderful variation and add a great layer of flavor if you add porcini powder to the flour. It will first seem expensive to you, but a little goes a long way.
They freeze beautifully. Great to know when you can whip them out on a moment’s notice (they are thin, so they will thaw or warm up quickly) as a dish In its own right, but also in sandwiches, or cut into strips in a salad.
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 8 chicken cutlets, thoroughly dried with paper towels and pounded about ⅓ inch thick
- Flour, any flour
- Spices and herbs of your choice: ground pepper, minced parsley flakes, nutmeg, minced fresh garlic, oregano etc Or 1/4 cup porcini powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup plant milk (If you would rather not use eggs, use more plant milk
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs, gluten-free OK, or panko crumbs
Put oil to heat in a heavy large skillet to come up about ⅓ inch deep.
While the oil is heating, get everything ready: Mix the flour with the seasonings and place in a plate. Beat the eggs with the plant milk in a bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a separate plate.
When the oil is hot, reduce to medium high. Keep the temperature at medium high at all times. Dredge each cutlet in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, then dip in the egg mixture, shaking off the excess, then press into the bread crumbs. Repeat with all cutlets. Fry about 2 minutes on each side until just golden. Do not overcook.
Transfer onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
When you are done frying, remove the paper towels, cover the cutlets with foil, and let them rest a few minutes in a low-temperature oven before uncovering.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
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