Oktoberfest in Munich is the world’s largest fair, bringing in more than 6 million people from around the world. About 7 million liters of beer are served during the 16-day celebration. But there is much more to Germany than their famous suds. Bratwurst, Hot Soft Pretzels, Apple Strudel and Black Forest Cake, are just some of the traditional German delicacies visitors can enjoy.
I am starting with one of my family’s favorite: Wiener Schnitzel. The Wiener Schnitzel is actually the national dish of Austria, but it’s also a classic recipe in Germany thanks to the close proximity to Austria.
I grew up eating Wiener Schnitzel regularly, with boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, fries, rice and Spaetzle. Whatever mom had on hand.
A Wiener Schnitzel is a breaded veal cutlet. It is dipped in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, and then fried in butter or oil to a golden brown. It is traditionally served with a lemon wedge, which you can use to drizzle fresh lemon juice over the schnitzel. Veal is the traditional choice in Vienna, though many people use the more widely available pork. Schnitzel can, of course, be made from almost any meat that comes in pieces large enough to fit the bill, and I make mine with chicken.
A note to those who are not so familiar with German cuisine … if you are in a German restaurant and do not know what to select off the menu, start with a Wiener Schnitzel. You will not be let down. It’s wunderbar!
The trick to making a good Wiener Schnitzel is in the technique. The cutlet must be very thin, the flour light, the eggs beaten, the breadcrumbs applied with a light hand.
- 4 thin chicken breasts, pork or veal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 3 Tbsp canola oil
- Use a meat hammer to pound the chicken breasts to 1/4-1/8 inch thickness. Cut small slits around the edges of the cutlets to prevent curling. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper.
- Set out 3 shallow bowls: One with a mixture of the flour. The second with the egg. The third with bread crumbs.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Dredge the cutlets first in flour, then dip the cutlets in the eggs, and then into bread crumbs.
- Sauté the cutlets for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the cutlets from the skillet and place them on a paper towel to remove excess grease.
*Flag photo courtesy of Wikipedia