In my book, Vienna imparted three particularly notable contributions to the world: my grandfather, Mozart, and Wiener Schnitzel. All three are synonymous with exquisite taste.
This take on Wiener Schnitzel has all the tenderness, flavor and crunch that make the traditional version so popular. Schnitzel made with turkey offers a lower cost alternative and a great substitute for veal. Always serve schnitzel with lemon wedges. There is something magically tasty about a squirt of fresh lemon on hot fried food.
For this dish, I used a 2½ pound boneless turkey breast. I laid it flat on a cutting board and sliced broad pieces about ½ inch thick. The breast yielded 6 intact pieces and two smaller pieces. I laid each piece between two pieces of parchment paper and with a flat surfaced meat mallet, pounded them down to ¼ inch thickness.
My large, non-stick sauté pan accommodated two pieces at a time. As each set of cutlets was done, I held them in a 200-degree oven. I used an olive oil blend in the first set, then coconut oil in the second, since the coconut oil is known to have a higher smoking point, but I had no problem with the blended olive oil. Read your labels at the supermarket to make sure what it is in that olive oil can is what you want. Pure olive oils have lower smoking points.
When schnitzel is prepared just right, the coating puffs up and pulls away from the meat. Sizzling hot, puffed and golden brown, schnitzel is better when eaten just out of the pan. If you are making as many pieces as I did, work quickly!
What you need:
Two cookie sheets covered in foil
Large nonstick skillet
Glass casserole, about 5” by 11”
Dredging station bowls
Boneless turkey breast, about 2 ½ pounds
½ C. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 C. chopped fresh dill
½- ¾ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Approximately ¾ - 1 tsp. salt (note: kosher poultry often needs less salt)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Flour for dredging, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper (about 1 ½ C)
3-4 eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water and a dash of salt.
Fine, lightly seasoned breadcrumbs for coating (about 2 – 2 ½ C), lightly seasoned with pepper and salt
Your choice of oil for frying: canola, olive oil, olive oil blends, or coconut oil all seem to yield good results.
Lemon wedges for serving
Cutting across the broad side of the turkey breast, slice the piece into six or seven cutlets. Pound each between two pieces of parchment paper down to ¼ inch or a tad thinner. Lightly season each with the salt and pepper. Place them in a glass casserole. Sprinkle with the chopped dill. Pour on the olive oil and lemon juice mixture and using your hands, mix the pieces around to make sure the dill, olive oil and lemon reaches each cutlet. Wash hands immediately and thoroughly.
Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and chill for several hours. The meat is even better if you allow it to marinate overnight.
When you are ready to fry the schnitzel, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with foil and place one in the oven. Set up your dredging station: flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in bowls or pie plates wide enough to accommodate the broad cutlets. Coat each turkey cutlet in flour, shaking off the excess. Using a fork, lay each fillet in the egg wash, and allow any excess to drip off. Lay each side of each cutlet lightly on the breadcrumbs, but do not press the crumbs into the meat. This is important for achieving that nice puffy crust.
Heat several tablespoons of oil in the non-stick skillet until very hot, but not to the smoking point. There should be more than a film of oil in the skillet, but less than ¼ inch. I test my oil by flicking a drop of water onto the surface of the oil. If it gives a good strong sizzle, I know it’s ready.
Lay each cutlet down on the hot oil. Allow it to cook for about 2 ½ minutes on each side. The timing will depend on how thin you pounded the pieces. The thinner they are, the less time on each side. With a fork, carefully turn and brown the other side for about 1 minute. Again, the thinner the cutlet, the less time needed. Transfer onto a warm cookie sheet in oven. Repeat with the rest of the cutlets.
Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with fresh dill. Schnitzel is delightful served with a green salad, traditional spaetzle, or egg noodles seasoned with good olive oil, salt and pepper.
By Lisa Reitman-Dobi