Wednesday, September 9, 2015

We Schlep for Schnitzel

Today is National Wiener Schnitzel Day.

No not that Weinerschnitzel...

THIS wiener schnitzel...

Things I did not know about wiener schnitzel (aside from the obvious lack of chili):  first, schnitzel is a boneless piece of meat that's breaded and pan fried in oil and lard until crispy. There are a variety of schnitzels, but Wiener Schnitzel specifically is Viennese-prepared schnitzel and is made using veal.   Wiener schnitzel is the national food of Austria.  In various parts of Austria and Germany, the main course is usually served with a light cucumber or potato salad.  Apparently America's own version of Chicken Fried Steak is simply a schnitzel knock-off.  With gravy. And Bacon. 

I was planning on making this particular dish myself tonight; however, since the weather had other ideas, and my kitchen has no air conditioning, we decided to let someone else prepare dinner for us.  It was another perfect opportunity to try someplace I had never been before.

Yes, my friends, in Torrance there is an entire restaurant/store front dedicated to European-fare.  They also hold one of the largest (if not the largest) Oktoberfest celebrations in the entire LA-area. 

(Tucsonans...think Gem and Mineral Show sized tents - now fill them with people eating brats and drinking beer.  You get the idea.)

Anyway, although Alpine Village offered up a reasonable schnitzel, I still can't help but think I could have done better myself.   It seems a relatively easy meal to make - you've probably already made it at least once or twice under a different name in your own kitchen.  But here's a variation on a recipe I found from my trusted food website, The Guardian.

Here is their recipe:
  • 2 escalopes of  veal (or pork) - beaten out thinly
  • Salt and Pepper, to season
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Flour, to coat
  • 1/2 c dried breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 lemon - cut into wedges
Heat the oil in a pan - hot, but just shy of smoking (a breadcrumb should sizzle).  Melt the butter in the oil.

Whip the eggs and cream together in a bowl, have two separate bowls set aside for flour and breadcrumbs (respectively)

Dredge the veal fillets through the flour, egg mixture, then bread crumbs
                *do not press the bread crumbs into the meat - the crust shouldn't adhere completely so it can form a loose shell around the meat

Place filets in oil.  As the bottom browns, swirl the pan so the fat splashes over the sides of the breading.  The breading will take on less oil this way, then if the meat is sticking to the pan.  This will also help with the shell.  Turn over and repeat.  Serve with lemon for seasoning.

Guten Appetit!