Snazzy summer schnitzels

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By Jan Bilton

In the 1970s, Wiener schnitzel was a popular meal-in-a-minute — paper-thin veal dipped in seasoned flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs, then quickly fried on each side and served with wedges of lemon and sometimes tartare sauce. It has fallen out of favour but a good Wiener schnitzel is a true delight.

The recipe originated in Milan (scaloppine alla Milanese) and was so relished and praised by an Austrian general during the 1857 military campaign in Italy, it was finally claimed by the Austrians as their own.

Schnitzel is the German word for ‘cutlet’. The French call them escalopes, the Italians scallopini and the Americans scallops. Whatever the name, schnitzels are a fast fix requiring only 1-2 minutes of pan-frying each side. If overdone, they dry out and become quite tough. The exception to this rule is when they are casseroled as traditional veal or beef olives.

CHICKEN SCHNITZELS WITH NECTARINES & BOCCONCINI

Loved by my family and friends.

Schnitzels: 2 skinned and boned chicken breasts

Summer chicken schnitzels with bocconcini

1/2 cup plain flour

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg 

1 tablespoon water

1 cup panko crumbs

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

Dressing: 3 tablespoons lemon juice

pinch sugar

1 clove garlic, crushed

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Nectarines: 3-4 nectarines, stoned and sliced

1 teaspoon sugar

3 bocconcini

Extras: rice bran oil for frying

basil leaves to garnish, sliced if large

Slice the chicken breasts evenly through the centre lengthwise. Flatten each using a rolling pin.

Combine the flour and seasonings on a plate. Beat the egg and water in a medium-sized bowl, until smooth. Combine the panko crumbs and herbs on a flat plate.

Coat the schnitzels with the flour, then dip into the egg mixture until well covered then coat with the breadcrumbs, pressing in well. Chill for 30 minutes to set the coating.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing. Place the nectarines in a bowl. Slice the bocconcini and drizzle with a little of the dressing.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of the rice bran oil in a non-stick frying pan. Pan-fry the schnitzels for 1-2 minutes each side until golden and cooked through. Serve topped with the nectarines and bocconcini. Drizzle with a little more dressing and garnish with basil leaves. Serves 4.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her recipes visit her website here.

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