MATT PRE­STON

Who doesn’t love a good schnitty? But the Aussie pub favourite isn’t the only way to eat crumbed meat

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

How to per­son­alise schnitzel.

CULI­NARY philoso­pher and co­me­dian Dave O’neill once fa­mously opined that “ev­ery­thing is bet­ter crumbed”. A quick glance around the world con­firms he’s not alone in this opin­ion, whether it’s the co­to­let­tas of Italy, the cut­lets of In­dia, the pail­lards of France or Ja­panese katsu.

So what are the se­crets of great crumb­ing? Beat­ing the meat out thin be­tween two sheets of plas­tic wrap or kitchen paper is cru­cial, not be­cause the meat cooks quicker or that the process breaks down the fi­bres mak­ing it seem more ten­der, but be­cause this gives you more sur­face area and there­fore a higher ra­tio of crunchy coat­ing to meat.

Your choice of crumb is im­por­tant, whether it’s fresh crumbs, panko bread­crumbs or some­thing funky like smashed corn­flakes, ground peanuts or toasted rice (with the purist in me still ask­ing if this is an actual “crumb”).

I like to crumb in ad­vance and then let it “set” in the fridge for at least half an hour be­fore cook­ing. A great tweak is to flavour that crumb with finely grated parme­san, herbs or spices.

ITAL­IAN

The Ital­ians love flat­ten­ing their veal for co­to­letta Mi­lanese. When mak­ing it, add lemon zest and parme­san to the bread­crumbs, and fry in a mix of olive oil and but­ter. Serve with rad­di­chio dressed with lemon juice, or make a sim­ple sauce by deglaz­ing the pan with white wine and re­duc­ing this with stock and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sea­son and fin­ish with chopped Ital­ian pars­ley.

AUS­TRALIAN

It’s sim­i­lar to the Ital­ian but I add thyme to the bread­crumbs, use chicken thigh and dou­ble crumb. Ob­vi­ously, it must be served with a clas­sic coleslaw – and if that’s all placed be­tween two slices of but­tered white toast all the bet­ter. Of course, you could Parma it up by ar­rang­ing the schnitzels on a bak­ing tray, lay­ing slices of ham and cheese on each, and then bang­ing un­der a hot grill un­til the cheese tans. Serve with a tomato sauce on the side.

GER­MAN

Beat out sliced and opened up pork fil­lets and crumb as usual but fry with cubes of speck (aka smoked ba­con). When golden and just cooked, move them and the ba­con to the oven. Fry slices of ap­ple in the fat that re­mains, then deglaze with a splash of dry white wine. Next, add a dol­lop of sour cream and a pinch of car­away seeds. Re­duce for a few min­utes for a sim­ple sauce.

JA­PANESE

Make Ja­panese katsu by dunk­ing small, thin slices of chicken thigh in flour, then into egg beaten with soy sauce, and fi­nally into panko crumbs to coat. Fry quickly and serve piled high, striped with piped lines of Ja­panese may­on­naise and a brown or bar­be­cue sauce. Serve with rice, soy (or ponzu) and fresh lime juice.

IN­DIAN

In­dian cut­lets are usu­ally made with ground lamb and mashed pota­toes, but why not riff on that idea us­ing the lo­cal favourite of crumbed chops. Mar­i­nate but­ter­flied, boned and beaten out chops in grated onion, turmeric, a good dash of curry powder and lemon juice. Wipe the lamb, then di­rectly crumb with a mix of fine dry bread­crumbs and al­mond flour. Fry or grill and serve with minted yo­ghurt, rib­bons of salted cu­cum­ber, flat­breads and lime or mango pickle.

THAI

Add crushed peanuts to the panko crumbs pressed on to beaten out chicken thighs and serve these crunchy golden gems with a herb salad loaded with a dress­ing made with palm su­gar, fish sauce and lime juice.

FRENCH

Rub beaten chicken breast in Di­jon mus­tard be­fore dunk­ing in flour, egg and fresh bread­crumbs mixed with thyme, gruyere and a pinch of salt. Fry in foam­ing but­ter and olive oil. Serve with beans and mashed pota­toes.

BAKED

Of course, you don’t need to fry at all. In­stead, try my recipe for baked schnitzel at de­li­cious.com.au.

Matt’s homestyle chicken schnitzel. For recipe see de­li­cious.com.au.

MATT PRE­STON

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