This is the best a veal cutlet can be: tender veal rib-eye, pounded paper-thin and breaded, then fried in clarified butter. The flavor is incomparable. It's best to have the butcher pound the meat thinly for you, but if you want or need to do it yourself, position the 5-ounce piece of veal between 2 sheets of wax paper or parchment paper. Gently at first, then more forcefully, use a flat-bladed meat pounder to pound the veal into a fairly round shape 7 to 8 inches in diameter.
Serve on warmed dinner plates accompanied by a tossed salad or potato salad with a simple oil and vinegar dressing. Pair with an Austrian Riesling or Veltliner or a good-quality beer.
- 1 cup flour
- 2 large eggs, well beaten
- 1 1/2 cups plain fine dried bread crumbs, preferably made from stale French or Italian bread
- 4 5-ounce slices veal rib-eye or eye round, pounded paper-thin to 7 to 8 inches in diameter (see headnote and related TIP)
- Salt or fine sea salt
- 12 ounces clarified butter (see NOTE*)
Place the following ingredients in 3 separate wide, shallow bowls, such as soup plates, keeping them discrete: flour, eggs and bread crumbs.
Lightly season the meat with salt on both sides.
Using a fork or tongs to hold it, place one of the veal slices into the flour bowl. Gently press so that the flour adheres, then turn the schnitzel over and repeat.
Use the same fork or tongs and coat the meat on both sides with the beaten egg.
Place the egg-coated schnitzel into the bowl of bread crumbs, gently shaking the bowl so the underside of the schnitzel becomes coated. Turn over and repeat with the second side. Avoid pressing the crumbs into the schnitzel, which might result in a too-firm coating.
Repeat with the remaining schnitzels; be sure to clean the bread crumbs from the end of the fork or tongs between breading each one.
The schnitzels can be covered and left for 1 to 2 hours at a cool room temperature before cooking.
When ready to cook the schnitzels, line a large platter with a few layers of paper towels.
Heat the clarified butter in a medium (9-inch) saute pan over medium heat (the butter should be about 1 inch deep in the pan and should register 325 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).
Working with one at a time, cook the schnitzels for just under 2 minutes per side, until golden on each side; the meat is thin and will cook through easily. Transfer to the paper-towel-lined platter and blot the schnitzel on both sides. Serve warm.
*NOTE: To clarify a pound of butter, heat it slowly over low heat in a medium saucepan. After it has melted, let it stand for 10 minutes, then use a spoon to skim off the foamy solids on the top. Pour off the clarified butter, leaving the watery residue in the pan (a fat-separator cup can be helpful for this). Pour the cooled butter into a plastic container, cover and refrigerate. The butter may be used a second time after frying a batch of schnitzel: Pass it through a fine-mesh strainer to eliminate any solids, then cover and refrigerate as above. Use within 1 month.
Adapted from Siegfried Kroepfl, executive chef at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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