Tenderise a piece of meat, crumb it, fry it and what have you got? Yep, you guessed it – the ‘schnitty’, an Aussie favourite. Variations of the dish are eaten all over the world as well, from Europe to South America and even Asia. Put your own spin on the classic schnitzel – pick the fillet, crumb coating and what to flavour it with, then use up the leftovers in dishes the family will love too!
Preparation time: 10 mins plus 30 mins chilling
Cooking time: 15 mins
• 2 x 200g skinless chicken breast fillets, halved crossways (or other meat, see below)
• ½ cup plain flour
• Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to season
• 2 free-range eggs
• 2 tsp water
• 1½ cups breadcrumbs (or crumb of choice, see below)
• ½ cup finely grated parmesan
• 2 Tbsp finely chopped flat‑leaf parsley leaves
• Extra virgin olive oil, for shallow-frying
• Lemon wedges, to serve
Step 1 Line an oven tray with paper towel. Trim any excess fat from fillets. Put chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until about 5mm thick.
Step 2 Put flour on a large plate and season (or add flavouring, see over page). Put eggs and water in a shallow bowl and whisk until lightly beaten. Put breadcrumbs on another large plate. Mix in parmesan and parsley (or crumb seasoning, see over page). Coat 1 chicken piece in flour mixture.
Step 3 Dust off excess flour then dip in egg mixture. Allow excess to drip off.
Step 4 Coat in crumb mixture, pressing firmly to adhere. Transfer to another large plate.
Step 5 Repeat Steps 2–4 with remaining chicken. Cover schnitzels with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow crumb to set.
Step 6 Pour oil into a large frying pan until 5mm deep. Heat over a medium heat. When oil is hot, cook 2 schnitzels on 1 side for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Step 7 Flip schnitzels and cook for a further 3 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside and keep warm. Repeat with remaining schnitzels. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Personalise your ingredients
Pick your meat
• Scotch fillet steak
• Veal cutlet
• Pork fillet
• Uncrumbed veal schnitzel steak (also known as escalopes)
• Chicken thigh fillet (top) or breast fillet (bottom)
• You can use any meat you like – lean fillets are best.
• Choose skinless, boneless cuts (except for veal cutlets).
• Should be no more than 1cm thick before pounding. Slice if it is.
• Cooking times may vary.
Flavour the flour
• Mexican – taco seasoning
• Flavoursome – chicken stock powder
• Spicy – chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
• Herby – dried herbs
• Smoky – sweet smoked paprika
Choose a crumb
• Quinoa flakes are quinoa grains rolled into a flat flake. For a gluten-free schnitzel, use these for crumbs and swap plain flour for quinoa flour.
• Cornflake crumbs are a fine yellow crumb made from the breakfast cereal. It makes for a nice crunch.
• Panko breadcrumbs, from Japan, are more like bread flakes than a ground crumb. They give fried foods a light, airy and crunchy coating. Find in the Asian aisle of the supermarket.
• Fresh breadcrumbs are often sold at bakeries, but they’re easy to make too. Remove and discard crusts from 6 slices of day-old bread. Roughly tear slices and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form.
• Dried breadcrumbs, a very fine-ground crumb, are the cheapest option. Buy white or wholegrain varieties at the supermarket.
Season the coating
• Cheesy – finely grated parmesan
• Asian – sesame seeds
• Zesty – finely grated lemon rind
• Herby – finely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley and oregano