Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Schnitzel and Caraway Cole Slaw

Schnitzel is something I never really thought about.  It certainly isn't a food I ever eaten very much of, even if I am at a German/Austrian restaurant I usually go for something else, the appeal of Schnitzel had until recently eluded me.

A few weeks back I was frying up some Perch fillets and had done a little bit of reading on what makes for the best fish fry.  One of the things that all the experts said was to flour the filet first then dip it in egg then in breadcrumbs (or ground nuts or cornmeal or whatever it was you were finally coating your fish with) then, and this I think is the real secret, let what ever it was you were breading, fish or pounded chicken breast sit in the fridge for an hour or so that the crust could dry out.  This drying period isn't necessary, but when I have the times to do it I find it really does improve my results: making for a deliciously crunchy exterior and a moist flavorful interior.  

I take one chicken breast at a time and place between two pieces pf parchment paper.  Before I go my fancy meat mallet I used a small cast iron frying pan to flatten my breasts.  Once pounded I dredge in some flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper. 

Dunk them in 2 whisked whole eggs
And then dredge them in bread crumbs of your choosing, I've been using Panko but they all work.
At this point if you wanted to you could place them on a parchment covered plate and put them in the fridge for an hour or more, if you were one of those motivated times you could probably make them in the morning before you go to work and fry 'em up when you get home.
I cook my schnitzel in organic high heat Sunflower oil, any flavorless high heat oil works (just remember that Canola oil if it isn't organic is a GMO product).  Fry in hot oil (but not smoking) for about 4 or 5 minutes - depends on how enthusiastic you were at flattening them, but basically when they are golden brown flip them and brown the other side.  When cooked drain on paper towel or a tea towel.
Once cooked all you need to do is squirt some lemon juice or spread some grain mustard onto them and you've got yourself a meal.
Schnitzel pairs perfectly with your favorite cole slaw, I like to make mine with Caraway seeds (several teaspoons), some sugar and grain mustard in my vinaigrette.  I try to avoid mayonaise in my cole slaw - I think a tangy oil and vinegar dressing makes for a more lively salad.  Grate up 2 large apples (skin and all) and throw in a good handful of Currents as well.  You can use any late in the season veggies that are at the market: red and green cabbage, carrots, radishes, spring onions (weird I know as it's Fall but they are still about - they are also optional) celeriac and parsley to mention some of my favorites.  Like the Schnitzel Cole Slaw is best made an hour or so in advance so it gets to sit and know itself better before serving.

Oh and of course the best thing to drink with this meal: Beer.

Sorry that I didn't put these recipe in my usual formal format with exact amounts, but the schnitzel is so easy and the Cole slaw so personal I think it's best to just give a general narrative of the possibilites and let you figure out the rest.

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