Fried breaded meat cutlets (or schnitzels) are extremely popular throughout Central Europe. Actually, pretty much throughout the world. You can find these on pub (hospoda) menus throughout Czech Republic. Pork cutlets are a go-to meat choice, but chicken is also popularly used. Veal is not as common, as it is in Vienna (Wien), Austria. My picture above shows a pork cutlet. So you may ask why I post a recipe that so many people already make. My answer?
Here are valuable secrets for the best schnitzels ever!
meat a bit thicker (my choice), but the meat is still pounded. As the cutlet fries, it does shrink slightly, so don’t hesitate to pound a lot, but not to the point of breaking up the meat.
To keep the meat tender and flavorful, I salt and oil ahead of time, before pounding. This “marinates” the meat. The ideal marination is 10 to 12 hours. For a puffy breading coating is to add some baking powder to the bread crumbs. It’s also important to use sufficient oil and at the proper temperature, when frying. Another given is to dip the meat in the coatings in a specific order. See my full recipe below. If ever in Czech Republic, you may see these schnitzels listed as:
- Smažený vepřový řízek z kotlety, citron (translated as “Fried pork steak with lemon wedge”)
- Smažená kuřecí prsíčka, citron (“Fried chicken breast with lemon wedge”)
- Thinner pork chops/cutlets (enough for 4 people) – Darker meat types best
- 1 to 2 tablespoons oil (canola, sunflower, vegetable)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, beaten with a couple teaspoons hot water added
- 1/3 cup or more of all-purpose flour (hladká mouka)
- 6 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
- 6 g (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder
- Frying oil or lard
Salt and well oil raw pork chops on both sides. Marinade in the refrigerator for about 10 to 12 hours.
Pound pork chops/cutlets thin using a meat mallet. Pepper, if desired. In a shallow bowl, mix the egg with the water. Put flour on a plate. On another, put a mix of the breadcrumbs and baking powder. Fill a large skillet with frying oil at least 2 cm (3/4 inch) deep. Heat oil on medium-high heat until a test bit of breadcrumbs sizzles. Then, begin the coating process of the pork chops/cutlets, as follows:
- Coat well on both sides with flour, shaking off any excess.
- Dip the pork in the egg mixture on both sides, letting most of excess drip back into bowl.
- Thoroughly coat both sides with the breadcrumb/baking powder mixture. Be sure to get a good coating, pressing the cutlet down for enough to adhere. It’s also just fine to let the breadcrumb coated schnitzels sit for a few minutes before putting into the hot oil to fry. That’s a recommendation by some, though I’m usually in too much of a rush for this “wait”.
Fry the pork chops/cutlets in the hot oil until their bottoms are golden brown. Then turn and brown the remaining sides. When done, put on a plate/platter lined with paper towels. Gently blot any excess oil from the tops.
Serve with lemon wedges and optional mayonnaise. Delicious with potato side of choice (potato salad, mashed or smashed potatoes, French fries, roasted potatoes) and gherkin pickles. And beer (pivo)!