I grew up with a favorite meal prepared by my father, Otto: Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese breaded sliced veal), wilted cucumber salad, and "dirty potatoes".
Traditionally, Wiener Schnitzel is made from sliced veal which is pounded thin and tender with a mallet. Because veal is so expensive, unless veal is on sale I tend to substitute thin-sliced chicken breast. Alternatively, you could use thin pork. My father never pounded the veal for tenderness: he relied instead on thinning the meat with crushing pressure from his fingertips. I rely on that also. Not necessary for chicken.
- sliced veal or chicken or pork.
- one or more eggs beaten with roughly 2 tbs water per egg. (I never measure.)
- unseasoned breadcrumbs on a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper.
Dredge the meat in the flour until it is coated, shaking off the excess.
Dip each slice into the egg (in a shallow bowl) to coat it completely (I use a fork to keep egg off my hands.) Arrange the breadcrumbs into a flat heap a bit larger than the meat, and place the slice on them. Move the edges of the paper to flip the breadcrumbs onto the meat, and then press them into the meat with your fingers. I repeat this on the other side too.
Fry the breaded slices until they brown (a little blackening is OK) in a plentiful amount of:
- butter (traditionally)
- other oil (we like mixing in olive oil.)
- or margarine works fine.
This ends up a very greasy, delightful dish that needs only a touch of salt to approach nirvana.
It is really difficult to coordinate using up the egg and breadcrumbs when breading the meat. So instead, Otto would always mix the remaining breadcrumbs and egg together to make a paste, and fry that too, spreading it out thin by pressing with a fork. When one side is browned, flip it to cook the other side.
After the frying is done, there are still lots of carbonized breadcrumbs and some butter in the pan. Otto would throw boiled, cubed potatoes into the pan with a little salt (and more butter if wanted) to give them a delightful crunchy seasoning. Just toss them until they are hot and coated.