Yesterday was cold and rainy. Just the kind of weather for some good comfort food and what could be more comforting to my German wife Laura than some nice Pork Schnitzel (Schweineschnitzel.) “Wienerschnitzel” is actually a geographically protected term in Germany and Austria and can only be made with veal and Laura will not eat veal.
I thawed out some pork tenderloin we had in the freezer. I have also used boneless pork chops, and pork cube steaks for this. I also made Austrian Potato Salad (recipe to come), and Braised Brussels Sprouts.
Cutting pork tenderloin on an angle yields a pounded cutlet that fits easily in the pan. Cut the tenderloin in half at about a 20 degree angle. Using the same angle, cut each half in half again, making 4 pieces, cutting the tapered tail pieces slightly thicker than the middle medallions.
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.
- 7 large high-quality sandwich bread slices (should produce about 4 cups), crusts removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon, vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin , trimmed of fat and silver skin and cut on angle into 4 equal pieces (see notes)
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- 1 large egg, hard-boiled, yolk and white separated and passed separately through fine-mesh strainer (optional)
1. Place bread cubes on large microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high power for 4 minutes, stirring well halfway through cooking time. Microwave on medium power until bread is dry and few pieces start to lightly brown, 3 to 5 minutes longer, stirring every minute. Process dry bread in food processor to fine crumbs, about 45 seconds. Transfer bread crumbs to shallow dish (you should have about 1 1/4 cups). Spread flour in second shallow dish. Beat eggs with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in third shallow dish.
2. Place first cutlet, between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound to even thickness between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. Season cutlet with salt and pepper. Repeat until all four cutlets are pounded and seasoned. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge cutlet thoroughly in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture, allowing excess to drip back into dish to ensure very thin coating, and coat evenly with bread crumbs, pressing on crumbs to adhere. Place breaded cutlets in single layer on wire rack set over baking sheet; let coating dry 5 minutes.
3. Heat remaining 2 cups of vegetable oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it registers 375 degrees on instant-read thermometer. Lay 2 cutlets, without overlapping, in pan and cook, shaking pan continuously and gently, until cutlets are wrinkled and light golden brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a paper towel-lined plate and flip cutlets several times to blot excess oil. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Serve immediately with garnishes.