Despite plenty of traveling to Germany and Austria, I never really appreciated schnitzel until I read The Accidental Foodie by Neale Whitaker and came across Bill Granger’s recipe for chicken schnitzel. The first time I went to Sydney, I of course went to Bill’s and ordered it right off the menu, so I could see how his recipe really should be done. Instant love. And then I thought, “Hey, I live in Italy. Cotoletta alla Milanese is (veal) schnitzel!” But upon reflection, I realized that it’s quite straight-laced — no herbs or anything mixed in. I was a fan nonetheless. Fast-forward to a couple weeks ago when Deanna, the stylist half of the team from the Israeli food blog Matkonation, said she had the quintessential Israeli dish for our readers, the Perfect Schnitzel. “Israeli? Sounds more like Mitteleuropa, but I’m curious.” She promised I would not be disappointed, and she was so right. Let us know where you stand on the schnitzel topic: Are you a purist, referring only to veal as schnitzel? Or does any meat prepared this way count as schnitzel to you? You know where I stand! — Kristina
About Deanna and Danya: Danya Weiner, who was born in Los Angeles and moved to Israel at the age of two, has been working in the field of photography for over a decade. Specializing in food, Danya’s work has been featured in Israel’s top culinary magazines, advertisements and cookbooks. A mother of two young boys, she somehow finds the time to also teach photography at a local college. Deanna Linder moved to Israel from Los Angeles to pursue a love interest and a budding career in the field of terrorism research. Eight years later, she lives on a farm with that love interest of hers (and a little one) and works as food stylist and cookbook editor and couldn’t be happier. Together, they are Matkonation, a bilingual (Hebrew and English) food blog, which is fueled by their love for aesthetics and passion for food.
The full recipe continues after the jump . . .
The Perfect Schnitzel
You can read the entire story of how Deanna and Danya stumbled across this recipe at their blog.
Some tips before getting started:
- I find that the best schnitzel is made from very thinly pounded meat. You can ask your butcher to do this for you, or you can easily do it at home.
- We used chicken in this recipe, but you can replace the chicken with veal or pork cutlets.
- The reason the garlic cloves are smashed and not chopped is that you don’t want any garlic to get on the chicken while frying; it will burn and become bitter. The garlic is just there to give flavor during the marinade stage, therefore making it important to let it marinate for as long as possible (but not longer than 24 hours).
- If the frying oil becomes dirty from burnt bread crumbs, throw it out, clean the pan and add more oil. Your schnitzels will thank me later.
- You may need more/less bread crumbs according to the surface area of your schnitzel.
Ingredients for 6–8 servings
For the marinade:
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 heaping tablespoons of good quality mustard
- 3–4 garlic cloves, smashed
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, very thinly pounded
- 1 1/2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- fresh ground pepper and sea salt
- canola oil
- 3–4 lemons, halved
- Good quality mustard (optional)
1. Combine eggs, mustard, garlic and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and mix until the chicken is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
2. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, mix together the unseasoned bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs. Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.
3. Dredge chicken breasts in bread crumbs, patting slightly to help them stick.
4. Pour oil into a medium skillet to about 1 1/2 inches high. Heat oil on high heat until very hot and add chicken breasts, adding just two to three at a time (depending on their size). Do not overcrowd them in the pan. Reduce heat to medium and fry until golden brown on each side and chicken is completely cooked through. Repeat with remaining chicken.
5. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a serving plate lined with paper towels, until all chicken is fried.
6. Serve immediately with a lemon half and mustard.
Why Danya and Deanna Love This Recipe
Although its roots are in Austria, the schnitzel can officially be considered one of the national foods of Israel, right up there with hummus and falafel. On any given moment on a Friday night, I would guesstimate that at least 75% of Israeli mothers are serving their families with freshly fried schnitzel. (The other 25% serve schnitzel on weekdays, keeping the Friday night dinner clear of the fried delight). This recipe represents the best possible combination of techniques that the two of us accidentally discovered together: marinated and breaded with a mix of panko and bread crumbs. It is the best schnitzel that both of us have ever had. Just more proof that two is better than one.