A Wiener Schnitzel is a breaded veal cutlet, a famous food in Germany. It is dipped in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, then fried in butter or oil to a golden brown. It is traditionally served with a lemon wedge, which you can use to drizzle fresh lemon juice over the schnitzel.
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A note to those who are not so familiar with German cuisine if you are in a German restaurant and do not know what to select off the menu, start with a Wiener Schnitzel. You will not be let down. It is delicious!
The Wiener Schnitzel, by definition, is made with veal. However, today many German restaurants will offer a “Schnitzel” using different meats while still following the preparation techniques of the Wiener Schnitzel (dipped in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, and fried in butter or oil to a golden brown). You may see this called “Wiener Art,” meaning it was prepared like a Wiener Schnitzel, but the meat is not veal.
Tips for Preparing a Wiener Schnitzel
The standard ingredients needed to make Wiener Schnitzel are veal cutlets (sliced thin, also called “veal scallops”), egg(s), flour, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. The bread crumbs should be fresh and unseasoned. You can easily make bread crumbs from dried bread. Put the bread in a food processor to finely grate the bread.
The veal cutlets should be pounded thin. This helps to tenderize the meat. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper.
Set up 3 plates side by side. One one plate add flour. On the next plate, scramble the egg(s). On the third plate add the bread crumbs. Dip the a veal cutlet in the flour. Only a thin layer of flour should be on the meat so remove any clumps if necessary. Dunk the veal cutlet quickly in the egg, then immediately coat the meat with bread crumbs. Do not press the bread crumbs onto the meat. Gently shake off any extra bread crumbs. Immediately place the coated meat in a frying pan with hot oil. There should be enough oil in the pan so that the Schnitzel “swims.” When both sides of the Schnitzel are golden brown, remove the meat from the oil and place on paper towels so that excess oil drips off. Serve immediately.
For best results, use a combination of butter and oil (either peanut oil or vegetable oil) to fry the Schnitzel. Use medium heat when frying the Schnitzel. The oil should be hot enough to brown the Schnitzel in 3 minutes – but not too hot that it burns the crust.
When done correctly, the coating is crisp and brown but doesn’t stick to the veal. You should be able to slide a knife between the meat and the coating. The trick to this is to fry the Schnitzel immediately after it has been coated with bread crumbs. Letting the breaded veal sit before frying it causes the coating to stick to the meat.