7 (Thu) January 2010
-Oksu (Joongang Heights), Seongdong, Seoul, Korea-
with the Family
As far as I’m aware, schnitzel is Austria’s most famous culinary contribution to the world. It consists of a thin cutlet of meat coated in breadcrumbs and pan-fried. The name derives from the German “schnitzen,” which means to carve or slice, as in meat. Wiener (Viennese) Schnitzel, considered by many to be the classic form, is made from veal; in Austria, only veal schnitzel may legally be referred to by that designation. A common variation made with pork, as discussed below, is called “schnitzel vom schwein.”
An overflowing Ziplock bag of stale bread crusts, which had been cut off in the process of making sandwiches over the past few months and collected in the freezer for some future unspecified project necessitating hand-made breadcrumbs, inspired me to attempt schnitzel. I found a basic recipe on BigOven (see below) and, with minimal fuss, produced what appeared to be a reasonable facsimile. Just grateful for the opportunity to do away with several ingredients that had long overstayed their welcome, including a handful of pork tenderloin filets that had been of questionable quality when I acquired them at a rock bottom sale sometime last year, I was aspiring for nothing and expecting very little. When I took my first bite, I had to pause for a few seconds, first out of surprise, then to savor the experience. Such depth of flavor, a harmony of flavors, in such a thin patty.
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- 8 pork tenderloin filets (400 grams)
- 3 cups bread crumbs (200 grams)
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (50 grams)
- 1/3 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
- 4 tbsp flour
- 4 tbsp (salted) butter
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Pound filets into paper-thin escalopes.
Pounding has tenderizes the meat, and the thinner patties cook faster, thus absorbing less butter and oil and ultimately resulting in a crisper schnitzel.
2. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, herbs, black pepper.
The easiest method here is to throw in whole slices of stale bread, a chunk of cheese, and the herbs and pepper in a food processor; not only does this save time, I’m sure the whizzing blade forces the ingredients to become better acquainted. Although most recipes call for fine bread crumbs, I prefer them to be a bit bigger, which makes the crust flakier; of course, the size of the crumbs will affect the amount of bread that’s required, as discussed below.
3. Whisk eggs, salt, white pepper, lemon juice.
The lemon juice, which adds a bright note to what might otherwise be a somewhat heavy dish, is the key to this recipe’s success.
4. Dredge each patty in flour, dip in egg wash, and coat in bread crumb mix.
Even with the same amount of meat, I’ve sometimes found myself with a lot of leftover bread crumbs, depending on the thickness of the filets (thicker patty = less bread crumbs used) or the coarseness of the bread crumbs (thicker crumbs = more bread crumbs used); since leftover bread crumbs can’t be saved and reused once they’ve been expose to the egg wash, I usually set aside about a third as a reserve and use it only if necessary.
5. Set aside for 1 hour.
This allows the coating to set and adhere to the patties.
6. For each patty, heat 1/2 tbsp of butter and 1/2 tbsp of oil in skillet on medium.
My 10-inch pan holds 2 patties at a time, so I add 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil per pair.
7. Gently place patty in skillet and saute for 1-2 minutes per side.
Because the patties are so thin, the meat will cook very quickly. As soon as the coating takes on a rich brown color, it’s done. Be vigilant because mere seconds can make the difference between a perfectly cooked schnitzel and a burnt one – bread crumbs, cheese, butter all burn easily.
8. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Schnitzel goes well with potatoes, like mashed potatoes.
NOTE: This post was initially published on GMTD’s prior site and is now reposted on this site. Due to the unavailability of the original image files, however, the photos presented here are the low-resolution versions downloaded from the prior site, hence the poor quality. Thank you for your understanding.