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Monday, 31 October 2011

Aw, you are such a schnitzel!

So this is exciting, its very rare that I cook meat voluntarily, and not on a Shabbat, but this was pretty much an exception, and it was totally worth it. Schnitzels are one of those things that I have always known in theory how to cook, but only actually attempted this one time. 

When I was a teenager and involved in youth movements and other optimistic, wholesome activities, the people who I admired pretty much more than anyone else were my madrichim (counselors). They were like my older siblings, sort of, they were cool and loving and seemingly so secure in their Judaism and future plans. Of course I have since reached and passed their ages myself and I know that this wasn’t true, they just knew how to hide it better. Anyway, one of my madrachot used schnitzel as a term of endearment. If something was cute, she would say something like ‘oh schnitzel’. Since then, I have always associated the two, and schnitzels are cute and comforting.

Apparently in real life they are supposed to be veal, but in my world it is always chicken or turkey. I asked the butcher for turkey escalopes and he carved them for me specially, so they were thin enough.  If yours aren’t, give them a bash to flatten them a bit, or cut them in half lengthways almost the whole way through, and then flatten in a butterfly way.

For 4 decent sized turkey schnitzels you will need:

1 cup flour (or something equivalent during passover)
1-2 eggs, beaten
2 cups breadcrumbs (or matza meal – I used the pre-flavoured garlic breadcrumbs that you can buy in crouton-shakers from kosher shops, and they worked really well)
flavourless cooking oil (not olive!)
salt and pepper
other spices of your choosing

1 very big heavy frying pan
3 dinner plates / wide shallow bowls

1 lemon

Put the flour in one plate, the beaten eggs on another, and the breadcrumbs on the third.  Season the flour with salt and pepper, and add a few other spices depending on what you fancy – I used a bit of sweet paprika and a small amount of chili powder.

Pour oil into the pan about 1cm or so deep and put on to heat – don’t put the schnitzels in until you are sure its really really hot.  You can test this safely by adding in a few crumbs and seeing how quickly they start to sizzle.

Coat each escalope first in the flour, then egg and then crumbs, making sure there is an even coating.  I strongly recommend making these at least half an hour or so in advance so that you can put them in the fridge at this point.  This allows them to firm up, so that the coating is less likely to fall off when you put them in the hot oil. Add them to the pan carefully making sure that they don’t splash oil.  Fry on each side until its golden brown, about 5 minutes or so.  I like a few crunchy parts, but I leave that to your judgement. When they are done to your liking, remove them from the pan and leave on some kitchen paper or equivalent so that the excess oil can soak away.  If you are not serving them immediately, they will stay relatively crisp if you put them on tray in a medium hot oven for a little bit.  Serve with lemon wedges. And chips. 

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