After a trip to Germany and Alsace a couple of years ago, I was hooked on many things food. Sausage, giant pints of beer, strudels and onion soup, and all kinds of baked dishes involving lots of heavy cream and spaetzle. One of my all-time favorite things, however, was so incredibly simply and yet powerfully satisfying. Schnitzel. Which actually just means cutlet. I guess the weiner schnitzel that is most commonly found is veal, unless otherwise specified (this is what they told me in Alsace, anyway!). I’m not a big fan of veal, but I do love chicken. A chicken schnitzel was definitely in order. It took me a couple of years, but I finally got around to making it and I wasn’t disappointed.
I would’ve liked to try my hand at spaetzle as well, the German free-form pasta that’s found all over the Eastern part of France and Germany. I settled for store-bought, boiled and then pan-fried with a little bit of butter and served my schnitzel simply, with just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It reminded me of my trip, but also of a good pork tenderloin sandwich from Iowa. In fact, I used the same recipe with pork tenderloin a few weeks later and had an all-out American feast. It’s a very simple concept that transforms regular poultry and pork into something magical, bursting with flavor and oh-so juicy, and I suggest you adopt it right away!
Recipe from Bon Appétit via Epicurious
2 chicken breasts
1/4 C flour
1 pinch paprika (optional)
1/2 T minced parsley
1 C bread crumbs
1 T butter
1 T vegetable oil
Place each chicken breast in between two pieces of plastic wrap that are about 3 times larger than the breast itself. Using a mallet or rolling pin, flatten and tenderize the breasts until about 1/4-1/3 of an inch thick.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. I threw in a pinch of paprika as well. In a second bowl, combine beaten eggs and parsley. Place the bread crumbs in a third bowl. Season the breasts with salt and pepper.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter and oil. Once it’s hot, work quickly to dredge the chicken breasts first in the flour mixture, then in the egg, then in the bread crumbs. Add to the skillet and cook until the coating is crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and add a bit more butter and oil if needed before placing the breast back in, browned side up of course. Cook 3-5 minutes longer until golden brown and chicken is cooked through.