Vienna Schnitzel

Vienna Schnitzel (aka Wiener Schnitzel)

There are few pleasures in life more fulfilling than a whacking great Schnitzel on your plate!  I have a bit of a policy of finding the best Schnitzel in town whenever I am travelling.  Nothing will ever beat the real Austrian Vienna Schnitzel eaten in situ at a PROPER tavern – utter bliss, however since I am not able to visit Vienna every time I want a Schnitzel I have tried to develop a recipe that at least doffs its hat to that Viennese experience.

Vienna Schnitzel

There are three things that I believe are crucial to making a great Schnitzel:
Firstly:  the Breadcrumbs – they need to be fresh, dried bread, not any packet business here.
Secondly : Add Flavour – the Schnitzels we had in Vienna all had sesame seeds and other magical wonders mixed into the breadcrumb mix.  I make mine up in advance with added sesame seeds, pepper and sometimes Nigella seeds – but not salt as this draws too much moisture from the meat.
Thirdly : Time – the Schnitzels need to chill and rest before they are cooked.  This gives the meat time to shrink down a little and for the crust to dry out a bit.  Do not cover with plastic wrap, just place on a tray covered with baking paper, and place in the fridge for half an hour before cooking.

For 6 lovely Schnitzels:
6 thin veal schnitzel steaks
2 eggs, whisked well with a pinch of salt in a wide bowl
2-3 cups breadcrumbs  - laid out on a dinner plate or tray
½ cup plain flour
1 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon of butter

Pre-heat oven to 180°C

Prepare the schnitzels one at a time, end to end, rather than one stage a time.  Have a large tray covered with baking paper ready to receive them.
Trim the veal steaks to remove any sinew or gristle and pound flat with a mallet. 

Once flattened, dust with the flour then immediately drop each schnitzel into the egg wash.
Turn the schnitzel over several times in the egg to ensure it is fully coated and absorbed into the flour.
Drop the schnitzel into the breadcrumb mix and press flat with your hands, pressing the breadcrumbs into the veal well so that it feels dense and compact.
Once all the schnitzels are coated in the egg and breadcrumb mix, place them in the fridge for half and hour.
In a very large frying pan, heat the olive oil with the garlic clove until the clove is entirely cooked through.  Remove the clove and discard.

Pour the oil into a small bowl and use in batches with a little knob of butter for each schnitzel. 
To cook the schnitzel, warm the oil with the little bit of butter until it foams then increase the heat to medium.  Add the schnitzel to the oil and cook on one side for about 3 minutes before turning over.  The schnitzel should be deep golden brown before it is turned.
Turn only once.

Once each schnitzel is cooked place on a baking tray lined in a sheet of baking paper.  Spread the schnitzels out so they are not crowded and place in the oven as they are cooked until all schnitzels are ready.
Serve with a slice of lemon, baked potatoes with sour cream, pickled red cabbage and gherkins.

The same method can be used to make pork or chicken schnitzels.