Schnitzel Shenanigans


Though the shnitzel has Austrian roots, food writer Rivka Tal says she'd wager that almost every Israeli household serves the dish at least once a week, and that it's always one of the choices offered for the main dish at weddings.

The Austrians are credited with the creation of the wiener schnitzel — boneless meat, thinned with a hammer, coated with beaten eggs and breadcrumbs, and then fried. Origin­ally, it was made with veal, but chicken and even turkey versions have reigned supreme in Israel, where it was “imported” by Ashkenazi Jews from Europe.
I would wager that almost every Israeli household serves schnitzel at least once a week, and it is always one of the choices offered for the main dish at weddings.
Of course, it does taste best straight out of the pan, but schnit­zel can also be prepared in the oven (saves calories, time and mess) or even the micro­wave (ditto).
But if you want to be really fancy for one meal, then try this kosher — and nearly authentic — version of Chick­­en Kiev.
Traditional Schnitzel
4 boneless and skinless chicken cutlets (about 6 oz. each), pounded to an even 1⁄4- to 1⁄8-inch thickness
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 cups unseasoned Panko or plain breadcrumbs
4 Tbsps. canola oil, divided
chopped flat-leaf parsley
lemon wedges
Season chicken cutlets with pepper. Place flour seasoned with salt and garlic on a shallow plate. Beat eggs and Dijon mustard to blend in a shallow baking dish.
Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly; then dip it into the breadcrumbs. Let the breaded cutlets sit for 5 minutes. 
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 chicken cutlets to skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Add remaining oil to skillet and repeat with remaining cutlets.
Garnish each with parsley and a lemon wedge.
Serves 4.
Baked Chicken Schnitzel
4 boneless and skinless chicken cutlets (about 6 oz. each), pounded to an even 1⁄4- to 1⁄8-inch thickness
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
canola oil
Preheat oven to 400˚. Spray a flat baking sheet with cooking spray.
Set out three shallow pie dishes or deep plates: one with flour, one with beaten egg and one with seasoned breadcrumbs. 
Dredge one cutlet in flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the egg, and into the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Place the breaded chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle some drops of ca­nola oil over each chicken piece.
Bake for 18-20 min­utes or until the chicken is white in the middle and internal temperature reaches 165˚. 
Serves 4.
Microwaved Chicken Schnitzel
Don’t tell anyone in Vienna or any other purist, but here’s an even faster and easier way.
4 boneless and skinless chicken cutlets (about 6 oz. each), pounded to an even 1⁄4- to 1⁄8-inch thickness
1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder
1⁄2 cup French salad dressing
1 cup Italian-seasoned golden breadcrumbs
Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder. Spread each side of breasts with dressing, and dredge in bread crumbs.
Arrange chicken with thickest portion to outside in a shallow 10-inch round baking dish. Cover with a sheet of baking paper.
Microwave at high 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and internal temperature reach­es 165˚.
Serves 4.
Chicken Kiev 
1⁄2 cup pareve margarine, softened
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. dried parsley
1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 chicken breast halves, skinned and boned
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water
1 and 1⁄4 cups seasoned flour or breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. canola oil
Combine margarine, on­ion, parsley and pepper thoroughly. Shape mixture into a log; cover and place in freezer until firm.
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Pound with a wooden mallet or rolling pin to 1⁄4-inch thickness.
Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease a shallow ovenproof dish.
Divide margarine mixture into 6 even portions. Place a portion in the center of each chicken breast halve. Roll as for a jelly roll and tuck in sides of chicken.
Press to seal and secure with a wooden toothpick. 
Dip each piece of chicken into egg beaten with water, then roll in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs. Line up rolls in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with oil.
Bake for 1 and 1⁄4 to 1 and 1⁄2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165˚. 
Serves 6.
Rivka Tal is a former Minne­sotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at:


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