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David Ross

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  1. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    Consider, if you will, the Schnitzel. The national treasure of Austria, the word Schnitzel is a diminutive of the word “sniz” or “slice.” A piece of meat, pounded thin, then coated in bread crumbs and fried. Traditionally served simply with slices of fresh lemon, a sprinkle of paprika and maybe a leaf or two of parsley. Dating back to about 1845, the most famous of the schnitzels is the Wienerschnitzel (the Swiss break it into two words-Wiener Schnitzel), always made with veal. But the Wienerschnitzel we are discussing must not, in any way, be confused with the fast food chain "Der Wienerschnitzel", founded in California in 1971, and to this day selling "wieners" - a.k.a. hot dogs - under a pseudo-Austrian affectation. Opened in 1905 by Johann Figlmüller in the heart of Vienna, restaurant Figlmüller Wollzeile has been known as the “Home of the Schnitzel.” Serving massive portions of schnitzel draped over plates and served with a side of Austrian potato salad. Schnitzel isn’t always made with pork. Nor is it always breaded and fried as we know it. Take the Walliser Schnitzel for example. A pork escalope with a pocket stuffed with dried apricots sautéed in white wine with ham, parsley, cheese and almonds. The Walliser schnitzel is brushed with a tangy mustard but never coated in breadcrumbs and fried in sauté pan in a shallow pool of butter. If you’ve ever trekked through the cities, towns and fairs that dot the state of Iowa, you’ve surely come across the beloved tenderloin sandwich. A large slab of thin pork, dipped, breaded and fried, then placed between a bun that covers literally a few inches of the beast. A Schnitzel sandwich if you will. Served dry, with mayonnaise, maybe a few dill pickle slices and you're tasting a slice of America's heartland. Tradition tells one that Schnitzel can also be made with mutton, chicken, pork, beef, turkey or reindeer. Today one could stretch the idea of the protein to include a “Tofu Schnitzel” perhaps topped with a spiced mixture of lentils and harissa. I happen to live in the Pacific Northwest where it is common for hunters to craft a schnitzel from venison or elk, the perfect treatment for lean wild game that doesn’t need more than a kiss of the hot skillet to get crispy. Now the dip and fry are constant points of the schnitzel debate. Dipped in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs is the primary technique. Or is that egg mixed with milk, or condensed milk? Is it a double-dip in the flour and egg? And do we use fresh bread crumbs, panko or bread crumbs with parmesan? Wouldn’t pork lard be the best fat for frying a pork schnitzel? Or do we use butter, shortening, canola, vegetable or olive oil? As you can see we have some work to do here. Welcome to eG Cook-Off #76 and Consider the Schnitzel. (See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here.)
  2. Foodblog Fanfare: Feb 23!

    I'm looking forward to this one. Great city with great restaurants and great inspiration for a home cook like me.
  3. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    I have some chicken left from yesterday and was planning on doing a schnitzel in a salad, but I'm using your technique and I'll do it in my AirFryer. Thanks for the tip.
  4. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    For years when I worked in an office at SEA-TAC airport we would go up to a small café in the terminal, "Waji's." I think it was owned and run by the same company that owns the Uwajimaya groceries in Portland and Seattle. They had the most delicious chicken katsu that was served with rice, salad and two potstickers. It wasn't until our Cook-Off that I realized that would be a dish that would be an Asian twist on the European schnitzel. I remember their chicken katsu was thin, but in the range of about 1/2", so I thought I'd pound it down to about 1/4" thickness. Dredged in flour, then egg, then panko and fried in canola oil. In this recipe you cut the "schnitzel" into strips to dip into the katsu sauce. The katsu sauce was a blend of Worcestershire, ketchup, soy sauce, and I added mirin, sugar and oyster sauce. I think it was too heavy on the Worcestershire, so next time I'll bring that down and probably boost the oyster sauce. 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce 1/4 cup ketchup 2 tbsp. soy sauce white pepper 1 tbsp. Mirin 1 tbsp. sugar 2 tsp. oyster sauce Then for the salad I did sliced cucumbers and carrots that I shredded with one of the gadgets I've acquired over the years at Asian markets. The salad under the chicken katsu acted liked a rack to keep the fried katsu off the bottom of the plate and from getting soggy. I dressed the lettuce with some orange juice, rice vinegar and sprinkled in a few sesamed seeds and green onions. Mighty delicious this one.
  5. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    I think it's quite relevant to our discussion. I'm finding that while the term schnitzel may hail from Austria, it really is a dish that transcends boundaries, (which I never realized until this eG Cook-Off). In a few minutes I'll post my latest derivation of the schnitzel that I made for dinner last night, and it could be said this one is thousands of miles from Vienna.
  6. In January of 2016, I "retired" after 28 years of service for Horizon Air, a regional airline based in Seattle and the Sister carrier of Alaska Airlines. I put retired in quotes as it was actually the result of a corporate restructure. In any case, throughout my career I was on the inflight services department management team and for many years involved in the onboard catering. Now mind you, we were and the company is today, a regional carrier that flew primarily turbo-prop airplanes and just a few jets during my time. We didn't serve traditional hot meals in those days as our galleys weren't equipped with ovens, however, we did serve cold breakfasts, lunches and snacks and at times our food was actually better than what you'd find on other major carriers. Back when I started as a Flight Attendant in 1988, we served cold snack baskets and often ran promotions. I remember one summer when we offered a picnic basket of cold fried chicken, chips, an apple, a slice of apple pie from a bakery in Spokane and a small wide-mouth "Mickey's" beer. Well, as we know things have changed. In the time since I left, Horizon is starting to introduce a small regional jet with first class and hot meal service. The meals up front are basically the same meals one would find on Alaska Airlines first class. And while the menus read creative, like Southwestern scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa and corn tortillas, we all know what reads delicious on an airline print menu isn't always what ends up on your tray table. So let's have some fun here at eGullet and start a discussion of airline meals. Share your stories of grand meals from back in the decades when you looked forward to airline travel, especially the meal. (And I remember many a fine steak dinner served in coach on both Delta and United back in the 70's into the 80's). And are you dining on fine food these days when you fly? I regularly scan through sites dedicated to frequent flyers and I'm often impressed by the photos of first class meals on international long-haul routes served by Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, ANA, JAL and Swiss Airlines to name a few. (And while Delta is improving on that front in their business class cabin internationally, United is trying with their new Polaris business product, American seems to lag behind). Coach class throughout the world is of course a different story. So I'll be working in the coming months on going through some of my archives to show you some of the things we served on the little regional carrier up in the Pacific Northwest.
  7. Cook-Off 60: Banh Mi

    Today we’ve reached a milestone, the 60th edition of one of the most popular discussions that graces our forums—the eGullet Cook-Off Series. (Click http://forums.egulle...m/#entry1581324 here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index). In celebration of reaching Cook-Off #60, we’ll be discussing a sandwich that is a marriage of French and Vietnamese cultures. A sandwich that has crossed international borders and now finds itself on restaurant menus throughout the world. It’s served on fine china at white tablecloth dining rooms and it’s delivered on a paper plate out of a food truck parked in downtown Manhattan. Yes, friends, you’ve guessed the subject of Cook-Off #60-the Banh Mi sandwich, the current king of sandwichdom.
  8. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    That looks very delicious and I'm really impressed with the pheasant meat and the beautiful color of it raw. I'm sure it sounds odd to remark on a piece of raw meat but the color just tells me it is wild and tasty.
  9. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    The flavors in the sauce were really fresh, like a homemade tartar sauce. It was heavy on the dill, and I'd make it again to serve on the side with a schnitzel, or even better, it would be a delicious sauce for any kind of fish dish, sautéed, broiled, fried.
  10. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    That’s what I’ll do next time. No dark bread just an onion roll, schnitzel and mayo. Last week I refrigerated a schnitzel thinking it wouldn’t be crispy in the morning. It was still crispy but chilled so I think that might be delicious in a sandwich
  11. Corned Beef At Home: Recipes, Tips, etc.

    Well, if we start soon, we'll have a moist and delicious corned beef to serve on St. Patrick's Day.
  12. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    My attempt at using chicken schnitzel in a sandwich had high hopes, but fell off the ladder for the most part. I've been making various takes on a fried chicken sandwich for years, always trying to look for the best fry on the chicken, always experimenting with the best sauce. While this schnitzel sandwich was good, I think I put in too many other garnishes and muddied up the flavor of the schnitzel. In the end I think I prefer just a plain traditional schnitzel with a twist of lemon, maybe a sauce served on the side. I did the chicken like the first pork schnitzel I presented-flour, egg and fresh bread crumbs, then fried in canola oil until crispy. A local bakery makes this wonderful dark Bohemian rye. Not only is it flavorful, but sliced thicker than any of the other commercial rye and European breads we can get. The sauce was made up of mayo, dill relish, fresh dill, dried dill weed, celery seed, caraway seed, chopped capers and salt and pepper. The garnishes were sliced iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion and sliced cucumber. A good sandwich, just not something I'll make again if I want a schnitzel.
  13. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    That's one mighty-fine looking sandwich. I'm wondering what the dressing is, looks like some sort of dill mayonnaise. Their dressing helps me construct my schnitzel sandwich today as I've been tossing about ideas like Russian dressing or a bleu cheese mayonnaise. I actually like the idea of dill maybe a good dose of lemon juice thrown into the mix and some paprika to loosely stay with some schnitzel seasonings.
  14. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    I too have a schnitzel sandwich on my list! I've been doing different variations on fast-food style chicken sandwiches for years, but for whatever reason never thought to do a schnitzel between a bun. Sounds interesting.
  15. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    Although the meat is already thin at 1/4", I've been wondering if brining the meat would help keep it moist?
  16. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    Oh Shelby, I was hoping you'd do a wild game schnitzel! And thankfully, someone who puts a whole lotta black pepper in their cream gravy. Delicious.
  17. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    One thing I love about our Cook-Offs is how much I learn from everyone, and, by chance I happen to come along a new technique that I'd never considered before. I wasn't able to find any lamb or veal for my first schnitzel so I settled on pork. Starting with pork loin rib chops that I cut off the bone and flattened to about 1/4" thickness. I was planning on doing a comparison between using panko or fresh breadcrumbs. I've never used fresh breadcrumbs when making a fried cutlet, but I always use fresh breadcrumbs when making the annual pear brown betty. Nothing beats those fresh buttered bread crumbs on top of a pear betty and baked to golden brown. But I usually only use basic supermarket white bread with the crusts cut off then pulse them into crumbs in the food processor. I'm not much of a bread baker, but the day before I made a decent no-knead artisanal loaf baked in a hot Dutch oven. I do those fairly well. So I cut off the crusts and pulsed them into coarse crumbs. Because of my tepid baking skills the bread was fairly dense, not light and all fluffy like supermarket white bread. But that worked to my advantage in the end. Seasoned the pork cutlets with salt and pepper, then a good dredge in flour, a dip in egg and a patted down blanket of the fresh bread crumbs. Then into canola oil at 350 heated in the old standard electric skillet. I fried the schnitzel for about 3 minutes per side, and gently shaking the skillet to push some of the oil over the top. I turned it about 4 times. Then using a slotted spatula lifted out of the oil to drain a bit and immediately on the dish with a sprig of flat parsley and an ode to continental dining-a slice of lemon dipped in paprika. (An unintended benefit was the paprika lemon juice that I squeezed over the schnitzel). Then a very simple cucumber salad out of one of my German cookbooks, (although it was too tangy on the vinegar and too sweet on the sugar for my tastes). Cucumbers, red onion, apple cider vinegar, sugar, fresh dill and chives, salt, pepper and a few flakes of red pepper. I think the greatest benefit of this Cook-Off for me so far was the revelation of using fresh bread crumbs, and the coarse crumbs from that humble loaf of bread I baked. The schnitzel was incredibly crispy and the large crumb created more ridges which I think held it off the plate more than a flatter type schnitzel. (Much like a proper English muffin has all sorts of little caverns in the inside to hold butter and jam). I've been frying schnitzels for years and never came upon this technique, but now It's my standard for all sorts of similar fried foods. Now maybe this week I'll find that veal or lamb.....
  18. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    I was watching Rudy Maxa's World on PBS this morning and they did a segment on the black pork and a dish of pork tonkatsu. Although it's not pounded thin like the European schnitzel, it's basically the same in terms of coated with flour, dipped in egg then bread crumbs. But what really struck me and showed what I do when serving fried foods is that the tonkatsu was sliced then placed on a small rack which was placed over the serving plate so the bottom doesn't get soggy. Similar to this photo:
  19. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    Looks delicious and I especially like the spaetzle.
  20. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    I was going through some of my cookbooks this morning as a reference point for my first offering of our cook-off when I came upon what I think is a bit of a different schnitzel recipe. From the cookbook "My Alpine Cookbook, Hans Gerlach" is the "K.u.k Schnitzel." The cookbook doesn't give a direct definition of "K.u.k" but talks about traditional Austrian dishes like saftbraten covered in a sauce. So I think this is one of the schnitzels covered in sauce. In searching further I found that "K.u.k" is most likely a reference to the Austro-Hungarian Army, 1867-1918. The recipe calls for veal pounded thin. Then brushed on both sides with spicy mustard then dusted in flour and fried in oil. The sauce is made from a blend of onions, carrots, garlic, tomato, lemon zest, paprika, marjoram and beef or veal stock. I scanned the photo from the cookbook and it looks more like an Americanized Swiss Steak to me rather than a schnitzel.
  21. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    Yes, that happens far too often.
  22. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    I saw an episode of an Andrew Zimmern show the other night where he was traveling through the German countryside. One local dish was a schnitzel made out of carp. I thought that was odd, but in checking this morning it's a popular dish in Germany and the Czech Republic. Sometimes they score the fish before frying it, so in my mind since it's not a flat filet that wouldn't really be a schnitzel would it?
  23. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    I personally wouldn't pour a sauce over a schnitzel, nor any fried food. I just have this aversion to fried foods getting soggy. So much so that I don't drain anything on paper towels but rather on a small rack, then immediately onto the plate. If I wait too long before eating say a schnitzel, the bottom gets soggy sitting on the plate, which I think might happen with a sauce. I'd be more likely to put a sauce in a small cup to dip a bite of schnitzel in.
  24. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    Looks delicious
  25. eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

    And this also brings up a question about the best skillet to use. I have good non-stick, an electric skillet and an old-fashioned cast iron. Does one work better for schnitzel?