My Citizens! Please accept My most humble apologies for going dark these last 4 weeks. My beloved therapy dog, Fenris the Basset Hound, was diagnosed with Lymphoma (which is a death sentence for dogs) and it hit Me harder than I could have possibly imagined – I did NOT handle it well. However, I am gratified to report He is handling the chemotherapy like a true champion and it will hopefully provide Him with an extra year of life. Given His advanced age of 13 (very old for a Basset), I could not ask for more – so to celebrate this, today’s comfort food Schnitzel recipe commences!
Before all of this horror transpired, I had just recently returned from a week-long excursion to My spiritual homeland of the High Nordic region in Finland, and also had the opportunity to spend an all-to-brief stopover in Munich – truly one of the great cities of the world! While there, I had the opportunity to once again enjoy a dish of one of My favorite meals – the superlative Munich schnitzel, which takes all the glories of its Vienna cousin and adds even more flavor with the addition of pretzel crumbs, sweet mustard and fresh horseradish!
Coupled with a classic side of German Swabian tater salad and garnished in the Finnish schnitzel style (yes, there is indeed such a thing – read on!), it is simply unmatched! A strange twist of fate provides this Munich dish with a Finnish doppelgänger, enabling both to meld as one within My cauldron of transmutative gastronomy to emerge as a chimera – proof that I am blessed by providential angels of the highest order! With no further ado, let us discuss the history of schnitzel and march forthwith to gustatory glory via My own recipe of renown and authenticity!
A schnitzel is, of course, nothing more than a thin slice of meat, with the meat usually thinned by pounding with a meat tenderizer. Most commonly, the meat is breaded before frying. Breaded schnitzel is popular in many countries and is made using veal, pork, chicken, mutton, beef, or turkey. Schnitzel is very similar to the dish escalope in France and Spain, panado in Portugal, tonkatsu in Japan, cotoletta in Italy, kotlet schabowy in Poland, milanesa in Latin America, chuleta valluna in Colombia, and chicken-fried steak and pork tenderloin of the United States.
From a Jewish perspective (I am a proud Jew, despite not keeping Kosher), it is worth noting that schnitzel is also a beloved dish in the Holy Land of Israel as well as the Germanic regions! Originally brought from Europe to Israel by Ashkenazi Jews, schnitzel instantly became a hit. During the early years of the state of Israel, veal was not widely available, so chicken or turkey became a substitute. Nowadays, chicken or turkey breast is used to keep it kosher as well as exchanging butter for oil, as butter is normally used for Wiener Schnitzel but isn’t kosher with meat.
There are, in fact, a wide range of schnitzel variations to be found in both Finland and Germany alike:
In Finland, the dish called Wieninleike (“Viennese cutlet”), is almost always made of pork, breaded and fried like the original Wiener Schnitzel from Austria. It is usually served with French fries, potato mash, or wedge potatoes. A slice of lemon, a slice of anchovy, and a few capers are placed on top of the cutlet (remember this fact for later!). The dish was extremely popular between the end of the Second World War and the 1990s, when it could be found in virtually any low-end restaurant across Finland, though it is less commonly seen today due to fast food.
However, Wieninleike and its different variations remain a staple of menus in virtually any non-ethnic or fine dining restaurant in Finland. Lunch restaurants, different highway resting places and restaurants attached to gas stations are most prominently associated with this type of menu in Finland. Typically, all the following dishes are prepared from pork:
- Wieninleike served typically with slice of lemon, anchovy, and caper
- Floridanleike served with fried peach and served with Béarnaise sauce
- Havaijinleike served with fried pineapple
- Holsteininleike served with egg, anchovy, and caper
- Metsästäjänleike served with mushroom sauce
- Oskarinleike served with choron-sauce, shrimps or lobster, and asparagus
- Oopperaleike served with fried egg
- Sveitsinleike is filled with smoked ham and Emmentaler cheese
In Germany, Schnitzel is also usually made of pork, although turkey and veal are also common and it is usually served with French fries, potato mash, or wedge potatoes. The dish has been extremely popular since the end of the Second World War.
In German-speaking countries, the term Schnitzel means cutlets in general, not just breaded, fried ones. German schnitzel is synonymous with Oktoberfest, but it traveled a long way to get there. Schnitzel is actually said to have Turkish origins, where veal was coated with real gold flakes. The Venetians exchanged the gold for bread crumbs, and occupying Austrians took the local cuisine home with them, where it caught the attention of the Hapsburg rulers. Their lands included today’s Germany and their tastes set the standard. The rest is gastronomic history.
- Jägerschnitzel (hunter’s schnitzel) is a schnitzel with mushroom sauce. Depending on the region of Germany and personal taste, it may or may not be breaded. (Jägerschnitzel may also refer to an eastern German variant made of Jagdwurst, which originated in the former East Germany.)
- Münchner Schnitzel (Munich schnitzel) is a variation on the Wiener Schnitzel prepared with horseradish and/or mustard before coating in flour, egg and bread crumbs.
- Naturschnitzel (natural schnitzel) is a peppered and salted schnitzel with no sauce or only a simple sauce (e.g., pan drippings, to which sour cream may be added).
- “Pariser Schnitzel is similar to a Wiener Schnitzel but is floured and fried in an egg batter without breadcrumbs.
- Rahmschnitzel (cream schnitzel) is a schnitzel with a cream sauce, often containing some mushrooms.
- Vegetarisches Schnitzel (vegetarian schnitzel) is a meatless pattie made from soy, tofu, or seitan.
- “Walliser Schnitzel” is a variant most popular in Switzerland in which the meat is not breaded, but is fried in oil and then coated with tomato sauce and raclette cheese.
- Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese schnitzel) is a veal schnitzel thinned with a meat tenderizer, dusted with flour, battered with beaten eggs, and coated with bread crumbs and then fried.
- Zigeunerschnitzel (gypsy schnitzel) is a schnitzel with a zigeuner sauce containing tomato, bell peppers, and onion slices. This schnitzel is also called Paprikaschnitzel (bell pepper schnitzel).
- Kalb Schnitzel (Veal schnitzel) is a veal schnitzel pounded flat with a meat tenderizer, dusted with flour, battered with beaten eggs, and coated with bread crumbs and then fried in butter.
Münchner schnitzel is perhaps my all-time favorite version of the world-famous Wiener schnitzel. This is a Munich-style variety, hence the name of the dish. The veal cutlets are brushed with a combination of sweet mustard and horseradish before they’re coated in flour, eggs, and pretzel crumbs, then fried in butter. The dish is ready to be eaten when the meat becomes golden brown. It’s traditionally served hot with lemon wedges on the side and a delicious German-style potato salad on the side. The version I am using is from the South German region of Swabia.
I am grateful to have found a truly authentic Swabian potato salad recipe on the excellent website daringgourmet.com – I haven’t changed a single ingredient or proportion as it is simply PERFECT. 🙂 You can buy the proper German vinegar for it here.
My version of this amazing recipe for Munich schnitzel takes a cue from its Finnish cousin by adding the classic Finnish garnishes of anchovy, lemon and capers, making it very close to another old-time schnitzel classic invented by Baron von Holstein! You can – if you so choose – use strong Finnish mustard to coat the pork (buy it here) or use the classic German sweet mustard for a purist approach (buy it here). This is a simple, yet delicious recipe that I hope you enjoy as much as I do.
I remain grateful to all of TFD Nation for your support during this dark time – if you wish to donate to buy Fenris treats and toys, please feel free to do so at the “DONATE NOW” link at the top of the right column on your desktop screen or after this recipe on your mobile device. He will thank you – and you will also have My eternal gratitude by making My amazing hound happy and comfortable in His final months…a more noble beast has truly never walked this Earth and I will be severely diminished on His eventual passing…
Battle on – the GeneralissimoPrint
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