Sunday, January 26, 2014


Monday, January 20, 2014

Breaded Pork Cutlets (Pork Schnitzel)

Breaded Pork Cutlets (Pork Schnitzel)

From America's Test Kitchen Season 10: An Austrian Supper


While classic Wiener schnitzel features a thin, tender veal cutlet coated in ultrafine bread crumbs and then fried until puffy and golden brown, many recipes—to avoid the toughness and high price of veal—substitute pork. But too often these recipes yield dry, tough pork cutlets with greasy coatings. We wanted tender pork cutlets with the crisp, wrinkled, puffy coating that is Wiener schnitzel’s signature.
Dismissing pork chops and prepackaged cutlets, we chose tenderloin, which has a mild flavor similar to veal and isn’t tough. We cut the tenderloin crosswise on an angle into four pieces, which when pounded thin gave us long, narrow cutlets that would fit two at a time in the pan. Schnitzel is breaded with the usual flour, egg, and bread-crumb sequence of coatings, but we had to figure out how to get the characteristic puffiness and “rumpled” appearance of the finished cutlets; with good schnitzel you should be able to slide a knife between the meat and the coating. Drying bread in the microwave produced extra-dry crumbs that helped with the crispness, and a little vegetable oil whisked into the egg helped separate the coating from the meat. ?But the real breakthrough was in the frying method: Instead of sautéing the cutlets, we cooked them in a Dutch oven in an inch of oil, shaking the pot to get some of the oil over the top of the meat. The extra heat quickly solidified the egg in the coating, so that the steam from the meat couldn’t escape and puffed the coating instead. With the traditional schnitzel garnishes of lemon, parsley, capers, and a sieved hard-cooked egg, these cutlets, with their tender meat and crisp coating, delivered on all fronts.

Serves 4

The two cups of oil called for in this recipe may seem like a lot—but they’re necessary to achieve a wrinkled texture on the finished cutlets. When properly cooked, the cutlets absorb very little oil. To ensure ample cooking space, a large Dutch oven is essential. In lieu of an instant-read thermometer to gauge the oil’s temperature, place a fresh (not dry) bread cube in the oil and start heating; when the bread is deep golden brown, the oil is ready.
8 sliced white sandwich bread, crust removed and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin (about 1.25 lbs), trimmed of fat and cut on an angle into 4 equal pieces
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
lemon slices for serving

Place bread cubes on a large microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Microwave on medium power for 1-3 minutes, until bread is very dry and a few pieces start to brown (for me this was only 1 minute). Process bread cubes in food processor to very fine crumbs. Place bread crumbs in a pie plate and set aside. Place 1/2 cup flour in a pie plate and set aside. Combine eggs and 1 tablespoon of oil in another pie plate and beat together, set aside.

Place pork with 1 cut side down, between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or in a gallon ziplock bag and pound to an even thickness of 1/8 - 1/4 inch. Season pounded pork cutlets with salt and pepper. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge in flour, then in egg mixture (allowing excess to drip off to ensure a thin coating of egg), then in the bread crumbs, pressing on the crumbs to adhere. Place breaded cutlets on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and allow coating to dry for 5 minutes.

Heat 2 cups of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 375 degrees. Lay 2 breaded cutlets in the pan without overlapping and cook shaking the pan continuously and gently, until cutlets are wrinkled and golden brown on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a paper towel lined plate and flip several times to blot up excess oil. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Serve immediately with a little lemon squeezed over each schnitzel if desired.

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