AUSTRIAN WIENER SCHNITZEL VOM SCHWEIN (a Viennese specialty, breaded pork cutlets, for four)
“Should this dish be made only with veal, as tradition dictates, or can a serious person choose to make it with pork, as many Austrians do? There are other questions perhaps more important than the veal-pork dilemma. There is, for instance, the issue of lard versus vegetable oil (don’t even think about olive oil; butter maybe, but never olive oil). And you might want to consider if a half an hour marination in lemon juice is obligatory for an ideal cutlet. And wouldn’t veal scallopine from a butcher be just as good, if not better, than meat you pounded yourself?” Raymond Sokolov, The Cook’s Canon
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of any membranes and cut crosswise, at a slant, into 4 pieces
6 tablespoons milk
1-½ cups flour
1-½ cups very fine bread crumbs (cut seven slices stale white bread into small cubes and dry them at high heat in a microwave for 4 minutes. Reduce microwave to medium and dry them 3 minutes more. Grind them to superfine consistency for 45 seconds in a food processor)
vegetable oil for deep frying
4 lemon wedges
- Preheat oven to 250*. Place a rack inside a large jelly roll pan and set aside.
- Using a mallet or flat side of a meat tenderizer, pound pork pieces between 2 sheets of waxed paper to ¼ to 1/8 inch thickness.
- Beat the eggs with the milk. On the left side of the egg-milk bowl, spread the flour on a dinner plate. Do the same thing with the bread crumbs on the right side of the bowl. Dip each meat segment in the flour, then in the egg-milk mixture and, finally, in the bread crumbs. Let rest between sheets of wax paper until ready to fry. This resting period is a necessary step; it lets the breading solidify and adhere to the meat.
- Heat enough vegetable oil to come ¼ inch up the side of a cast iron skillet large enough to hold one schnitzel comfortably (about 2 cups for a 10 to 12 inch skillet). When it is just beginning to smoke, slip a schnitzel gently into the oil. Fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden. Remove with tongs, place on prepared rack in the jelly roll pan and keep warm in oven. Continue this way with the remaining 3 schnitzels. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge on each schnitzel. The schnitzels should overlap the plate on at least one side.
adapted from Raymond Sokolov, The Cook’s Canon