If you don't live in Austria, Europe, you've most likely never eaten a "real" Wiener Schnitzel, so forget everything you know about it.
This delicate Austrian speciality, is often copied, but nowhere outside of Austria have I ever eaten anything that resembles the original.
The original Wiener Schnitzel is made from veal, although you often find it with pork, but this has to be called "Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein" on the menu, otherwise the restaurant is trying to trick you.

You need the following ingredients for a real Wiener Schnitzel:

veal escalope (alternatively pork or chicken)
flour (the right type, called "griffig" in german)
2-3 eggs
bread crumbs (from white bread buns, but not the soft McDonalds type)
lard and a pan

Follow these steps:
Using a meat hammer, flatten the meat. Cut off all pieces of fat that might be visible on the edge.
Using a knife, make little cuts into the edges of the meat, this prevents that the meat will roll up when fried in the pan.
Use a little salt and pepper to season the meat.
Drop the meat into a bowl filled with flour, and press until the meat is fully covered with flour on both sides.
Open the eggs, and drop their contents into a shallow bowl. Use a fork or something similiar to stir the eggs, then drag the flour-ed meat through the bowl, until it's fully covered with egg on both sides.
Finally drop the flour-ed and egg-ed meat into a bowl with the bread crumbs, until the meat is fully covered with bread crumbs on both sides. Put the lard into the pan, and heat it. It should be half as high as the meat. When it's hot enough, fry the meat in the pan. Be sure the reduce to temperate, otherwise the Schnitzel will be dark and burned on the outside, while still raw on the inside. This part requires a little practice (or should I rather say: trial and error?), and also depends on your oven. The general rule of thumb is to keep the temperate lower than expected, which will take longer, but prevent burning the Schnitzel.
If you get it right, the ideal time to take the Schnitzel out of the pan, is when it's golden-brown.(on both sides, so you have to flip it once)

A real Wiener Schnitzel is best served with potato salad, fried potatoes, french fries or rice.

Another recipe from the collection of recipes included in Ruth Reichl's memoirs, Tender at the Bone. I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of veal, for all the moral reasons and whatnot. However, iffff Iiii wassss, I have no doubt this would be a very tasty dish indeed.

This recipe was imparted to Ruth by one of her mothers housekeepers, Mrs. Peavey, who also gave her the invaluable advice after dropping a Beef Wellington on the floor at a dinner party and reappearing only a minute later with a brand new one, that when making anything requiring dough to "Always make extra pastry. You never know what surprises life is going to serve up."

Wiener Schnitzel was Mr. Reichl's favorite meal and Mrs. Peavey believed that when she left her position with the family at least one person should know how to make it properly for him. Ruth claims that every time she made it she could hear Mrs Peavey in her head, in her thick German accent, telling her to "Pound der vehl very tin!"

Wiener Schnitzel
serves 4

Pound each cutlet "very tin!" between two pieces of waxed paper. You can do this with a mallet or equally as well by bring a heavy skillet down very hard on the veal a few times. This has the added benefit of providing a bit of anger therapy as well.

Place flour in a flat dish or plate large enough to hold cutlet. Place beaten egg in another dish, bread crumbs in a third. Season each with salt and pepper.

Dredge cutlets in flour. Dip into beaten egg. Dip into bread crumbs until thinly but thoroughly coated. Place on waxed paper covered platter and place in refridgerator for about an hour.

Melt four tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. When sizzling, brown cutlets quickly on each side till golden brown. Remove to platter.

Melt remaining two tablespoons butter in same pan. Squeeze lemon juice into butter, stir, and pour over cutlets.

People have the idea that preparing this dish is incredibly expensive (it’s not), or difficult (it isn’t), or simply a lot of work. Well, it does take some preparation, one piece of oddball equipment, and a couple of extra plates, but once mastered, it’s no more difficult than a stir-fry

First, you should  have the right cut of veal. Most people think they have to shuck out for scaloppine, at ten dollars a serving, when actually, what you want is called a veal round steak or chop. It will be a good-sized piece of meat, maybe three-quarters of a pound, and mine cost four dollars.  (Unfortunately, this usually means you have to either go to a butcher shop or have it specially ordered.)  It will have a little round bone in the center that you can either leave in or cut out, and then, you have to pound it between two sheets of vegetal parchment or wax paper, ideally with a meat hammer, but you can also use an iron fry pan, an empty wine bottle, or a rolling pin. (If you live in an apartment, try to have this done during the day, but the neighbors might still wonder what you’re up to. Tell them you're beating your meat.) 

Prepare three dishes: one with beaten egg (thin with milk if you want), one with flour, and one with bread crumbs (ideally from a kaiser roll). Using your left hand, dip the chop into the egg, then drop it onto the flour. Using your right hand, cover the chop with flour, and then with crumbs. (You can let the chop sit in the crumbs.) Then wash your hands, while you heat up the frying pan. For a regular 10” pan, use about 1 cup of oil or fat -- classically it should be half cooking oil, half lard — and heat until smoking. Cook 2-3 minutes on a side, until it’s golden brown and can be pierced easily with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges.  Salt and pepper optional, but really...need I mention?

Along side are usually one or several cold vegetables, such as marinated cucumbers and/or beets and/or string beans, potatoes in oil and vinegar, raw tomatoes, or salad, making this an ideal festive warm weather dish, with cream soup to start and a bakery pastry to follow. If making several, you can keep them warm in an oven for no more than ten minutes — otherwise the breading gets hard and tough. If for some reason you have a leftover or cold one, cut it small and put in the marinade with the potatoes or on a salad.

Once you get proficient at this technique, you can make all manner of specialty schnitzels by leaving off the bread crumbs and making pan sauces with sour cream and flavorings and spices, from the plebeian (onions, lemon, and/or white wine) to the exotic (curry schnitzel anyone? Maybe even Thai? Experiment!). Or go natural and just flour one side, no egg — and saute in butter, with clear soup, butter lettuce, white rice, and peas, for a truly exquisite experience. 

Bon appetit, or shall we say, Mahlzeit! Enjoy your schnitzel!

Wie"ner Schnit"zel (?). [G., Vienna cutlet.]

A veal cutlet variously seasoned garnished, often with lemon, sardines, and capers.


© Webster 1913

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