Wiener Schnitzel originated in Austria back in the 1500's. Wiener Schnitzel translates to Viennese style schnitzel. Wiener Schnitzel was originally made with pork. The original wiener schnitzel was once served to visiting king who insisted that the meat was veal. In those days, nobody dared to argue with a king even though the king was wrong. After that incident, wiener schnitzel recipes were changed to veal and veal has been the standard ever since.
Wiener schnitzel is simply a cutlet of veal that is sliced thin and pounded flat, floured, dipped in buttermilk, breaded and then pan fried. Many chefs use egg wash to make schnitzel instead of using buttermilk. That is okay, but buttermilk is the better choice. The bread crumb coating should be plain or very lightly seasoned.
Rendered goose fat or rendered duck fat is what was used to pan fry the original wiener schnitzel. Rendered duck fat is very healthy and it adds a rich flavor to the wiener schnitzel. Modern chefs usually use a combination of butter and oil to pan fry wiener schnitzel.
There are a variety of garnishes for wiener schnitzel. Boiled eggs, anchovies, caper butter, parsley butter and lemon are the most common garnishes. The garnish that I used for the wiener schnitzel in the pictures is the same as the wiener schnitzel garnish that I used to cook at a yacht club several years ago. Yacht club members like fancy classic presentations.
I was a very busy saute chef at that yacht club. The yacht club seated over 1300 people. We cooked for 250 to 700 regular menu reservations per night. We also cooked a few private dinner parties per night for groups of 20 to 400 customers.
As a yacht club saute chef, I butchered 2 legs of veal every other day, just to keep up with the demand. I also butchered beef tenderloins for tornados, medallions and tips. I butchered 1 to 2 veal livers per week and I filleted all the fish for my saute station. At a yacht club or fine dining restaurant, nothing is bought pre-cut or pre-prepared! The standards of excellence are easier to maintain when all items are prepared in house.
We had many German members at the yacht club. Wiener schnitzel was an entree that they liked. I cooked 25 to 60 orders of wiener schnitzel per night plus the other four veal entrees on the menu. The garnish looks like it may be time consuming and difficult when cooking for that many people. Having each garnishing item prepared ahead of time made this presentation easy. I only had to make the simple lemon caper butter garnish per order. I honestly forget where I got the idea for this style of schnitzel garnish, but this was a common way of serving schnitzel during the golden years of classic fine dining. Most chefs simply grate a whole boiled egg for this kind of garnish. I prefer to separate the yolk from the white and grate them separately. I always curl or roll the anchovy filets to make them look nice too.
In a yacht club, elegant classic presentations are the norm. Yacht club members prefer uncomplicated classic cuisine and modern eclectic presentation tend to draw criticism. Complicated uncomfortable modern cuisine presentations, that are challenging for a customer to get excited about, are rarely served in yacht clubs. The exotic fusion cuisine trend from a few years ago never landed at a yacht club. Old classics like wiener schnitzel are timeless!
Wiener Schnitzel Recipe:
Cut a thin 6 to 8 ounce veal leg cutlet or have a butcher cut one for you.
Gently pound the veal with a wine bottle or meat mallet, so it becomes thin and even.
Dredge the cutlet in flour.
Dredge the cutlet in buttermilk or egg wash.
Dredge the cutlet in fine French bread crumbs that are lightly seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 3 ounces of rendered duck fat.
Note: If no rendered duck fat is available, then use vegetable oil and butter. The original wiener schnitzel was pan fried in rendered duck fat!
Heat the rendered duck fat to 325º to 350º.
Place the breaded cutlet in the saute pan.
Quickly pan fry the breaded cutlet on both sides, till it becomes lightly browned.
Place the wiener schnitzel on a wire screen roasting rack to remove any excess grease.
Wiener Schnitzel Presentation:
Discard the grease in the pan from cooking the veal and wipe the pan clean.
Place the pan over low heat.
Add 2 pats of unsalted european plugra butter.
Add 10 to 12 rinsed capers.
Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Stir the melted butter sauce and remove it from the heat when it becomes warm.
Place the schnitzel on a plate.
Spoon the lemon caper butter over the middle of the schnitzel.
Place 2 anchovy filet curls on the lemon caper butter sauce.
Place 1 small spoonful of grated hard boiled egg white on one side of the butter sauce.
Place 1 small spoonful of grated hard boiled egg yolk on the other side.
Serve with potatoes and a vegetable of your choice.
I served this wiener schnitzel with a duplex whipped russet chive potato and whipped brown sugar sweet potato that was piped onto the plate with a star tipped pastry bag. I have posted several duplex potato recipes in this blog. A fluted sauteed mushroom is on the plate. Boiled brussel sprouts with a butter, smoked bacon and brown sugar glaze are a nice accompaniment.
Wiener schnitzel is a very simple entree. The flavor of the veal is the main feature.
Anchovies are looked upon like a seasoning or a replacement for salt in traditional european cuisine. Many chefs sprinkle sea salt over a freshly cooked schnitzel instead of serving it with anchovies. Use only high quality european anchovies when garnishing, because they have a light delicate flavor that is not fishy tasting.
I got the edge of the schnitzel a little bit dark in the pictures. Ce est la vie! Some people like a few dark highlights, because it adds character, but it is not a good thing.
Wiener schnitzel is a tasty uncomplicated classic Viennese entree. Yummy! ... Shawna