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Eat this! Schnitzel, crispy cutlets from Vienna

Edelweiss's Schnitzel a la Holstein

Edelweiss\’s Schnitzel a la Holstein.

What it is: Crisp and delicate, Schnitzel are thinly pounded, breaded, pan-fried cutlets. In Austria, according to law, the term Wiener Schnitzel applies only to Schnitzel made from veal, but pork and chicken Schnitzel are popular, too.

Hector Zapata

Hector Zapata

Where it comes from: The German name of the unadorned version of the dish, Wiener Schnitzel, gives its origins: Vienna. Many historians, though, believe it began in Northern Italy, where it’s called cotoletta alla Milanese, and found its way to Vienna in the 15th or 16th century. Another story credits Austrian Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz with bringing the dish from Milan to Vienna in 1857.

What to do with it: There are endless variations of Schnitzel, with different meats and toppings. The dish even found its way to Japan, where they make it with pork and call it tonkatsu. At Edelweiss in Norridge, Chef Hector Zapata makes several traditional Austrian and German versions, including the classic egg-, caper and anchovy-crowned Schnitzel a la Holstein, named for 19th-century Prussian diplomat Baron Friedrich von Holstein. The baron, reportedly, often was too hurried for leisurely dining, and preferred to eat his appetizer and main course together on one plate.
Edelweiss’s Schnitzel a la Holstein
Breaded veal cutlet topped with anchovies and egg
Chef Hector Zapata

2 slices veal, 4 ounces each, inside round
3 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour for dredging
Breadcrumbs
3/4 cup cooking oil
4 anchovies, rinsed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 slices lemon
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed

Working with one piece of veal at a time, place the veal slice between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound the meat until 1/4-inch thick, being careful not to make any tears in the meat. Repeat with the remaining piece of veal.

Beat one egg with a little water and place in a shallow dish. Season the veal with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour, shake off excess. Dip into the egg wash, allow excess to drip off. Coat in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the second slice.

Heat the oil in a large skillet until very hot. Place the veal pieces into the oil. (A sign of a good schnitzel is when the breading “bubbles” up while pan-frying). Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden ot the other side. Remove and keep warm on a serving platter.

Pour off the excess oil from the skillet. Crack the eggs into the skillet, season and cook perfect sunny side up eggs. Place a cooked egg on top of each veal schnitzel. Criss-cross the sliced lemons with 2 anchovies and few capers each. Place prepared lemon slices on top of the sunny side up eggs. 1 to 2 servings.
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