On a recent trip to Vienna, I was reminded how much I love a good schnitzel and just how delicate it can be. Traditional Viennese schnitzel (Wiener Schnitzel) is made with veal, not pork, giving it a mild, sweet flavour and soft texture. If substituting pork, try a pork tenderloin or escalope; if using chicken, use a whole organic chicken breast.
Pound the meat
The first trick to master is pounding the meat out to an even thickness. Lay the meat between two layers of plastic wrap (or wax paper) and gently pound it with the back of a heavy pan, until it is an even 5mm thickness all over and greatly increased in size. Repeat with the second escalope and season both with some salt and pepper.
Now, prepare a simple assembly line for breading the schnitzels. Beat the two eggs with the cream or milk very well, until thoroughly combined. Next to the bowl with the egg, place a large flat plate with a few tablespoons of flour, spread evenly.
Fine white breadcrumbs
Finally, prepare a third plate with an even layer of fine white breadcrumbs. You can either buy these or prepare them yourself, by gently drying out some white bread in the oven and then grinding it finely in a food processor. To bread the escalopes, first coat them in a thin layer of flour, shaking the excess, before dipping them in the egg. Let the excess egg drip off and then place the meat in the breadcrumbs, coating it fully. Leave the coated escalopes on a rack to dry for 5-10 minutes.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add enough vegetable oil to coat it by a few mm. When the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add one of the schnitzels and cook for 1 minute, gently shaking the frying pan back and forth to create the characteristic wrinkled coating, until the first side is golden brown.
Turn the schnitzel over and add a tablespoon of butter on the top, while continuing to shake the pan gently (careful, you don’t want to burn yourself) for another minute, until the schnitzel is cooked. Transfer to a plate with a layer of kitchen paper to soak the excess oil and repeat with the second schnitzel.
Serve with wedges of lemon and a simple salad of boiled potatoes with olive oil and parsley.
Anastasios Sarampalis is a lecturer at the Psychology Department.