Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Putting On The Schnitz

Before going to culinary school, I knew I enjoyed cooking but I really didn't know much about different techniques. However, the three stage breading station was something I pretty much grew up on. I've never really thought about it until recently. It turns out that the breading station is used throughout most of the world. It seems to be just as common as making a sandwich.

The breading station is a three step process where you dredge whatever it is in seasoned flour, then covered with plain egg wash and then coated with seasoned breadcrumbs. A classic technique that has been used for a very long time.

The recipe today is a simple Schnitzel with a slight variation. But, even here in Canada, I'm not always sure what to call it. I suppose some days it's a scallopine or even a cotoletta alla milanese. But here we get into little details that even I find very confusing. Schnitzels and scallopines are usually made with an escalope rather than cotoletta alla milanese which uses a cutlet. What's the difference between an escalope and a cutlet you ask? Ummm, glad you asked. Let me pull out my old textbook and let me see. Aha! Found it. A cutlet is a slice of meat that usually comes from either the leg or the rib and is usually very thin. An escalope is boneless slice of meat, often from a loin, and is pounded out to make it thin. Got it? I'm sure many of you reading this will forget everything I've written anyways. Not exactly life changing material. Nevertheless, you can now strike up a conversation with your favourite butcher. I find it very awkward talking to butchers. Seems like I'm always trying to break the ice with them. But it's very hard. They can be quite intense. Maybe it's just me but when a gentleman who maintains eye contact while covered in blood, holding a cleaver, surrounded by dead animals and talking about municipal politics (and is hopefully not missing any teeth), I am slightly intimidated.

Anyways, no more silliness. Here's a recipe! You read it. You make it. You serve it. You eat it.

Pork Schnitzel

8 Thin Pork Cutlets
150 g Flour (about 1.5 Cups)
4 Eggs, whipped
150 g Seasoned Bread Crumbs (about 1.5 cups)
2 Lemons, zested then cut into wedges for garnish
100 g Cheddar Cheese, grated (about three quarters of a cup)
Drizzle of Honey Dijon
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
Canola Oil for searing

In a bowl, combine bread crumbs with zest and grated cheese.

Dredge cutlets in seasoned flour. Drizzle mustard and spread evenly. Place in egg wash and then in bread crumbs. Repeat with remaining cutlets.

In a large skillet, pour generous amounts of oil and heat well. Sear both sides until brown, If not quite cooked, place in oven at 350 until cooked; about 5 minutes.

Serve with zested lemon wedges and Not Just Any A Humble Chef's Farinaceous Salad Made In the Style of the Germans

Serves 6.

Variation: you know, virtually every country in the world has a variation on this recipe. Ask your mom or grandma and I'm sure they can give a variation from their own country.

A Humble Chef's tip: these can be made in advance and refrigerated. However, do not allow them to touch other too much or they'll stick to each other. Then you'll have to peel one off the other.

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