Of all the cities I have visited, Vienna ranks high on my list. A night at the Bristol hotel, a martini at Loos Bar, a wander round Julius Meinl food hall and a Wienerschnitzel at Figlmüller’s makes for a near-perfect weekend getaway.
Proper Weinerschnitzel is a dish made in heaven: a slab of veal leg of staggering size and thinness, coated in light and fluffy breadcrumbs, fried to a golden crisp, with a taste that is indescribably good. There are many poor imitators out there (pork schnitzel prime amongst them), but once you have tasted the real thing, there is no going back.
I have tried a thousand times to create the perfect schnitzel at home, with equal number of disappointing, greasy, chewy results.
To recreate Figlmüller’s divine, football-pitch-sized schnitzel is a hopeless quest. What is needed is some radical schnitzel-thinking. Yesterday, I hit upon the idea of doing something different. To be fair to food writers that have gone before me, I wasn’t exactly reinventing the breadcrumbed wheel, but my version (at least in my tiny head) was something of a half revelation: Swedish chicken schnitzel.
It may not have the same ring as the Viennese version, but boy did it taste good. The origins of my creation lay in the fact that all I had in the fridge last night was a couple of chicken breasts (bought from a local farm last week). To that I added some inspiration from a kitchy 1970’s English favourite: chicken Kiev, a sublime dish of chicken breast stuffed with garlic, parsley and butter, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried, and, despite its name, about as Ukrainian as pizza.
Swedish chicken Weiner-Kiev schnitzel
- 4 of the best boneless chicken breasts you can find
- A little butter
- Small bunch of dill
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 dl plain flour
- 4-6 dl breadcrumbs (I use panko, Japanese breadcrumbs, for extra crunch
Slice each breast in half, lengthways, leaving two thin fillets. This requires a decent knife and steady hand.
Lay four fillets on a chopping board. Dot them with a little butter and scatter over a little garlic, lemon zest, fresh dill fronds and salt and pepper. Lay the other four fillets on top to make four chicken fillet sandwiches.
Prepare a plate with the flour on, a wide, shallow bowl with the egg in and a final plate with the breadcrumbs.
Carefully coat each chicken sandwich in flour, coat it in egg and roll it in the crumbs. Make sure the sandwiches stay pressed together and that the sides are coated, too.
Fry in enough oil to come half way up the chicken in a wide frying pan. Fry for 5 minutes each side over medium heat, till golden brown.
Let drain for a minute on kitchen paper, then serve.