The perfect recipe for a classic dish.

"Ah! an Austrian comfort food classic – don’t mess with it. It gets served the same way in every place in Vienna – white plate with the schnitzel flowing off the side of the plate, a wedge of lemon, cranberry compote and potato salad on the side. To the uninitiated, it might seem like a big chicken nugget, but there is an art and nuance to it and the Austrians will die arguing over the best schnitzel." – Gareth Smith

Yield: Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 500g/1lbs schmaltz or pork lard
  • 4 veal escalopes, pounded with a meat hammer until 5mm thick
  • 150g/5oz plain flour
  • 2 beaten eggs, with a smidgen of Dijon mustard
  • 300g/10oz dried fine breadcrumbs
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 4 spoons cranberry compote

For Austrian potato salad

  • 1kg/2lbs waxy potatoes, smaller potatoes work best
  • 30g/1oz butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 200ml warm vegetable broth
  • 75ml/2fl oz white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon mustard
  • 80ml/3fl oz vegetable oil/rapeseed oil
  • 4 sprigs flat parsley for garnish
  • Cranberry Sauce

Method

  1. Heat the lard in a hot frying pan, and whilst this is heating, season and dredge the escalopes in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs – if doing larger quantities of schnitzels, it’s great to have two pans on the go at the same time.
  2. Fry the schnitzels whilst swirling the oil a bit (carefully). The swirling creates little waves, which gives the cooked schnitzel a characteristic ruffled look.
  3. Serve simply with a sprinkling of salt, a wedge of lemon and a spoon of cranberry compote.
  4. To make the salad, simmer the potatoes gently for 25-30 minutes until tender but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool slightly.
  5. When potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, peel and cut them into coin sized slices. Set aside in a big bowl.
  6. Heat butter in a pan over a medium heat, add diced onion and cook until translucent, three to four minutes.
  7. Deglaze the onion with vinegar. Add broth, sugar and salt.
  8. Bring the liquid to a boil and allow it to cook over a low to medium heat for two minutes, creating a little dressing, slowly adding the oil.
  9. Toss the potatoes with the dressing, check the seasoning – it might need a touch of salt.
  10. Cover the bowl with a lid and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes so the potatoes are able to absorb some of the dressing.

Tip: For a nice puffy schnitzel, make sure the escalopes are sliced across the grain (your butcher will know what this means). This helps create a steam within the breadcrumbs, making them expand nicely. Also, only breadcrumb the minute before serving!