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Recipe: Classic Wiener Schnitzel

Classic Wiener Schnitzel | Photo by Maria Zizka
Classic Wiener Schnitzel | Photo by Maria Zizka

Wiener schnitzel is quick and simple to make, though there are a few key moments in the cooking process to focus on. First and most important of all, seek out pasture-raised veal, which has a full, beefy flavor. You can usually count on pasture-raised veal to be free of hormones and antibiotics. It makes up a tiny sliver of the commercial market and can be hard to come by, but it is absolutely worth finding. Second, use a light hand when coating the cutlets in breadcrumbs so as to create a distinct layer that will puff when the meat cooks. Lastly, don't shy away from using the proper amount of butter and oil in the pan -- the schnitzel needs to swim in the hot fat in order to take on an evenly crisp exterior.

Classic Wiener Schnitzel
Serves 2

½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup breadcrumbs
1/3 pound veal eye round, cut into 2 cutlets
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving
Parsley, for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set up your schnitzel dipping station: On a large plate, toss together the flour and ¼ teaspoon salt. In a pie dish, whisk the egg and cream. Spread the breadcrumbs across another plate.

Place the veal between two sheets of plastic and pound the meat as thin as you possibly can without creating any holes. (A meat mallet is the ideal tool, but a wine bottle, rolling pin, or small pot will work). Season the veal with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one veal cutlet at a time, dredge the veal in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dip it in the egg-cream mixture, and then coat it gently with breadcrumbs. Place the meat into the skillet, tilting the pan and spooning fat over the meat. Cook until the breadcrumb coating puffs and starts to brown, about 1 minute. Flip, and cook the second side, continuing to spoon fat over the meat. When both sides are nicely browned, transfer the schnitzel to a plate lined with paper. Repeat with the second veal cutlet, using the fat that's already hot in the pan. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley, and serve straight away.