I first discovered Wiener Schnitzel as a little girl eating "around the world" at Disney's Epcot Center, and those two words still make me giggle. Funny name aside, it's a classic dish that's easy to prepare.
Wiener Schnitzel, the national dish of Austria, is nothing more than pounded meat that then gets lightly breaded and fried. According to Austrian law, a dish of Wiener Schnitzel must be made from veal, although variations, while not technically Wiener Schnitzel, can be made using pork.
Wiener Schnitzel is a fun and easy dish to serve for a small group and rarely does it disappoint. It consists of a pretty standard breading recipe: flour followed by an egg wash and bread crumbs. I add lemon juice and a splash of heavy cream to the egg batter for extra zing and richness.
If you are feeling authentic (and willing to splurge) veal is definitely delicious. If you're on a budget or don't support the practice, then pork is a perfect alternative. Just buy a tenderloin and slice it into four to six rounds; a good whack with a rolling pin will shape them into perfect cutlets for pan frying.
I like to serve Wiener Schnitzel with homemade spaetzle and a simple lettuce salad. Extra lemon wedges and a bottle of white wine round out the meal. It's a hearty and filling dinner, perfect for chilly fall nights with friends. (And if you have any leftover, it's pretty delicious tucked inside a biscuit. Bonus points if you make gravy.)
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup fine bread crumbs
6 pork or veal cutlets, pounded 1/8" - 1/4" thin
Canola or peanut oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges and finely chopped parsley, for serving
Set out three shallow pans: fill one with flour; one with eggs, lemon juice, and cream; and the third with the bread crumbs.
Season the cutlets generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Using tongs, dredge each cutlet in the flour mixture, turning to coat and shaking off any excess. Dip the cutlet in the egg wash, followed by the bread crumbs, pressing to adhere bread crumbs on all sides. Transfer the cutlets to a cutting board or parchment-lined sheet pan and allow to dry for 15 minutes to set the coating.
Meanwhile, heat the oil for frying in a large, heavy skillet with oil over medium-high heat until it reaches between 350°F and 360°F. Season the cutlets with additional salt and pepper. Add the cutlets to the pan, working in batches if necessary, and fry until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a brown paper bag.
Serve immediately or hold in a low oven to keep warm. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.
(Image credits: Nealey Dozier)