Aside from latkes, schnitzel is another one of my exceptions to pan-frying food. Out of laziness, I often tend to skip frying the schnitzel for easier clean up (and a healthier version), but frying the schnitzel delivers the best, crispiest results. Perfect crispness is not easy to achieve with other recipes, sometimes the coating doesn't form well or it becomes soggy. What I love about this dependable schnitzel recipe is the perfectly forming crunchy texture surrounding the tender juicy interior. From time to time, when the craving hits, I take out the frying pan, olive oil and get geared up! When I am short on time, I go with the baking route. Give both a try, the results are rewarding!
2 large eggs
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
½ teaspoon course salt
⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup panko or breadcrumbs
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
4 - 6 ounces of chicken cutlets, finely sliced and pounded to an even ¼ inch thickness (Tilapia can also be used as a substitute)
4 tablespoons olive oil or grape seed oil
Directions for Frying
1. Place the cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper and pound them until just ¼ inch thick.
2. Beat eggs in a shallow bowl with garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. In a separate shallow bowl, combine panko and parmesan cheese.
4. Dip each cutlet into egg mixture to coat completely, then dredge in panko mixture, making sure the cutlet is well coated. Don’t press the panko/breadcrumbs into the meat. Just softly coat the meat on both sides and all edges, and then gently shake off any excess.
5. The key is to immediately fry the schnitzel at the right temperature. Don’t let them sit in coating or the end result won’t be as crispy. You don’t need a ton of oil, but you need enough so that the schnitzel sits on top of the oil. Heat a large frying pan with 2-3 tbsps oil over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is hot enough, but not too hot (smoking). If it’s too hot, the crust will burn before the meat is done. If it isn’t hot enough, you’ll end up with a soggy coating. When the oil is hot enough it will actually penetrate the coating less and you’ll end up with a crispy “dry” coating. The result will be a beautifully crispy coating with a tender and juicy interior, and that’s exactly the goal.
6. Add 3-4 cutlets at a time to the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
7. Remove the schnitzel from the pan and place briefly on a plate lined with paper towels. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with slices of lemon.
Directions for Baking
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Follow above steps 1-4 for frying the schnitzel.
3. Place schnitzel on a baking sheet with baking paper placed underneath to prevent sticking.
4. Bake until golden brown for approximately 30 minutes, turning the pieces midway to achieve an overall crispiness and golden tone.
5. Garnish with lemon.