Perhaps the best known schnitzel and the one that first comes to mind whenever the topic of schnitzel comes up is weiner schnitzel.
There is nothing like a perfectly breaded, perfectly fried, and perfectly crispy wiener schnitzel, complete with a juicy interior. I have eaten them many, many times.
But the truth is that I’ve never been able to cook a wiener schnitzel nearly as the ones that I ate whenever we were stationed in Germany.
You would think that this would be so easy…especially since the recipe is so darn simple…
But getting that perfectly breaded, perfectly fried, and perfectly crispy wiener schnitzel all boils down to technique.
SInce we are talking about cooking methods, or techniques, let’s take a look at how to supposedly make wiener schnitzel that honestly doesn’t taste like cafeteria food.
“Wiener Schnitzel” is actually a geographically protected term in Germany and Austria and can only be made with veal.
If what you yourself would call Weiner Schnitzel actually isn’t made from veal, but some other type of meat—such as pork loin or chicken—cooked in the same style…it should technically be called “Schnitzel Wiener Art,” not wiener schnitzel.
Remember that regardless which type meat you choose to make your wiener schnitzel, or any other simple dish like this, it is especially important that you choose quality ingredients.
And regardless what type of meat you decide to use, the meat must be very thin.
It is important that you meat be thin because you will frying it at high heat for a short period of time, and you want to be sure to get that perfect crispy crust without leaving the middle of the meat raw.
Pounding your meat will not only make your cut of meat tender, it will also tenderizes it.
Getting your cut of meat thin enough to make wiener schnitzel can be done with the help of a meat mallet.
To do this, lay your cutlet between two pieces of Saran Wrap. Then pound the meat with the flat side of a meat tenderizer, an empty wine bottle, or a small pot until it is about 1/4″ thick.
Once your meat is thin enough, lightly season both sides with salt and pepper.
5. Chill the Breaded Food…
Cover the tray of breaded food with foil or Saran Wrap. Place in the fridge for thirty minutes to an hour.
This is priobably the one step that most of us feel like we could simply skip…
But chilling your food is actually extremely important beccause refrigerating the fooed allows the flour to become sticky and attach to the meat….ensuring that the breading stays on your food once you cook it.
4. Fry Until Golden Brown…After the breaded food has had time to chill, you’re ready to fry it.
a. First fill the pan that you have designated as your offricial frying pan with enough oil so the food you’re frying is half-covered. Make sure you use a heavy pan for frying so it conducts heat evenly.
b. Heat the oil until a few breadcrumbs sizzle when tossed in. The type of oil that you fryt your food in is actually a matter of preference. Use cooking oil that can withstand high temperatures.
Make sure that the oil is hot enough before adding the food…otherwise your fried food will absorb the oil like a sponge…resulting in soggy, oily food….and the breading will fall off the food into the pan.
Your oil should be somewhere between 300 and 400 degrees, depending on the recipe.
You can you tell if the oil is hot enough by using use a kitchen thermometer…or tossing a drop of batter or breadcrumbs into the oil to make sure that it sizzles…or sticking the end of a wooden spoon into the oil to see if little bubbles form around the spoon.
Also, if the oil in your ia hot enough, the oil will take on a distinct shimmer.
But it the oil is smoking, it’s too hot…either turn the heat down or start over.
Don’t try to rush the oil into reaching the right temperature by cranking your stove eye up as high as possible. The oil should heat up slowly. Trying to heat the oil too fast will lead to bitter, burned food.’
c. Gently lay your breaded food meat in your heated pan, being sure not to overcrowd.
Once the oil is at the right temperature, and you are ready to add your food to your pan, make sure that you do not overcrowd the pan. Crowding the pan will cause heat to be trapped underneath your food, causing it to steam rather than fry.
Even if you know that your pan coulfd hold more food, you do not want your pieces of food to touch each other. Either cook in batches or use two pans.
Remember that as you take out the cooked food and add another batch of uncooked food to your pan, the temperature of the oil will plummet. Allow the oil to come back up to temperature between batches of cooking…otherwise your food will be soggy.
d. Fry for a minute or two, until golden brown on the bottom, and then flip. You may want to use your probe thermometer to check the temperatures of the meat as you are cooking it.
Keep an eye on the food.
Keep the flame on medium to medium-high.
Make sure the temperature doesn’t get too high. If the oil starts to smoke or turn black, it’s too hot and you either need to let it cool down or start over with fresh oil.
To avoid your breading when you turn your food, it is imporrtant that you not turn the food too early or too often.
Remember that the second side always cooks faster than the first.
Be patient. Leave the food alone until it develops a crust and is easily lifts off the pan. If the food is still sticking to the pan, it isn’t ready to turn.
Be sure to use the proper utensils—such as tongs or a thin spatula—for turning your food, especially when the food is fragile.
e. Drain the cooked food on cooling racks placed over foil-lined cookie sheeta. Keep warm until ready to serve. You could also use either paper towels or brown paper sacks. Of these two, the sacks yields the crispest food.
Once the food has been fried and transferred to a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle it once more with kosher or sea salt.
Panfrying is an easy and straightforward dry cooking method that is used all over the world, giving us such great foods as breaded pork chops and chicken cutlets.
Panfrying allows you to get dinner on the table more quickly than several of the other cooking methods that we have or will be discussing…as long as you prepare as much as possible before throwing the first pork chop into the oil…and as long as the food that you will be cooking is actually food suited for this cooking method.
Panfrying simply involves cooking food in a heavy pan containing a small amount of hot oil over moderate heat until it is brown on one side, then flipping it over so that the other side browns also.
The oil should only cover half of the food’s height, unlike deep frying where the food is completely suspended in oil. The fact that the food actually touches the bottom of the pan means that the crust will be even darker than if it had been floating in the oil.
Panfried foods are often covered with some sort of breading before being added to the hot oil…(more on this later)…
This layer creates a barrier that prevents the oil from soaking into the food and making it greasy
As food is panfried, the moisture contained in the inside part of the meat turns into steam and then has a battle with the very hot oil surrounding it. The steam fights to keep the oil out, while the oil fights to keep the moisture in.
Actually I was a little puzzled about why frying would be considered as a “dry cooking method” even though the food is cooked in liquid.
Supposedly this is the case because oil is actually a fat that contains no water at all.
Even though both oil and water are liquids, oil behaves much differently than water.
Fewer flavor compounds found in food dissolve in oil. This means that foods cooked in oil are less likely to lose their flavor than those same foods cooked in water.
Save water for making stocks and broths, since so much of the flavor originally found in the food will be dissolved into the water anyway..
The goal of panfrying is to maintain a moist interior while at the same time creating a crisp, tasty, golden-brown crust, Pan-fried foods are favored for these browned surfaces, crisp coatings, and tender interiors.
Panfrying is an effective way to not only retain the moisture and tenderness that these cuts of meat such as pork chops should have, but also to add rich, caramelized flavor.
Food that has been panfried correctly should have a moist interior and a crispy exterior that you refuse to share with anybody.
One primary difference between panfrying and sauteeing, that we talked about in this previous post, is that panfrying uses lower heat.
This lower heat is important because panfrying involves cooking whole pieces of meat, not food that has already been cut into smaller pieces before cooking. If your temperature is too high, the exterior of the food will overcook while the interior of the food will be undercoked…(ever cut into a hot piece of chieken only to find that the interior is still pink)…
In these next few posts, we will discuss the right equipment, the proper oils, which foods are best for panfrying…and how frying food can be done so that it isn’t quite as bad for my diabetic husband and my own big fat butt…
The Anjui region is an inland area located in East China. The region surrounds the Huangshan Mountain, also referred to as Yellow Mountains. The region consists of many different types of terrain—including not only these mounjtains, but also forests and farmland.
Anhui cuisine revolves around wild plants and animals, very similar to Fujian cuisine that we talking about in an earlier post.,,,although there is less emphasis on seafood.
Anhui cuisine is humble and hearty peasant food. ..created by the native rustic cooking styles of the mountain dwellers.
Food is seen as therapy and meant to be healthy, visually stimulating, and simple.
As far as cooking method, it is important that the food is cooked in a way that doea not destroy the nutrients of the food. The cooking methods used in this province are simple, usually one of these four methods—braising, stewing, steaming, salting—with special emphasis on controlling cooking time and temperatures
As far as meat, Anhui cuisine includes more gamey meats than anyjui other regional cuisine.
As far as spices, Anhui cuisine uses many fresh wild herbs,
As far as vegetables, Anhui cuisine uses a lot of woodland vegetables—such as foraged mushrooms, berries, tea leaves, bamboo shoots, and other wild plants that can be found locally.
Examples of Anhui entrees that you might find on a menu are…