Among world cities, Vienna has long ranked as capital of cuisine. Two years ago Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna was published. With fall upon us and winter before us, hearty yet elegant food is what our tables demand. Neue Cuisine remains an inspirational source for you to consider. Author Kurt Gutenbrunner has a small empire of restaurants in New York City: Café Sabarsky, Wallse, and Blaue Gans. Suzen and I live two blocks from Blaue Gans. On nights when she isn’t doing a Cooking by the Book event and we want a treat, it’s a quick stroll to schnitzel-land.
How fitting that this restaurant empire has been created, for Vienna was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire a hundred years ago. Before World War I, the empire comprised most of what we think of as central and eastern Europe. As an Irishman, I am proud of the cuisine of this Celtic city.
Oh,perhaps I should explain. Around 400BC, northern and central Europe was a mass of forests and wandering tribes. Celts, yes the Irish-type-of-Celts, ranged all across Europe and actually founded the settlement that became Vienna. Not long after, some group calling themselves Romans booted the Celts out. A few hundred years later, barbarian tribes disposed of the Romans. But Charlemagne reclaimed the land and established Vienna a hub of the Holy Roman Empire. Vienna never faced a challenge from the rest of Europe again.
Vienna did face challenges from the east. Vienna was targeted by the Ottoman Empire and nearly conquered several times. In 1683, Vienna was literally just days away from falling. Our world would have been very different if Vienna, and most of central Europe, has become Muslim. Schnitzel might have been a victim. God knows what might have happened to the pastries.
Today, most of us think of Vienna as a city far away with little impact on us, except perhaps for those pastries and the schnitzel. Not true. Just in New York, every day thousands of people invoke a Viennese tradition of great importance. Sigmund Freud was a resident of Vienna and developed this idea of talking about problems on a professional basis. A lot of us do that every week, perhaps with a coffee and pastry beforehand. Or after.
I’ve wondered if Freud had any lingering Celtic DNA. Probably not. But he surely loved his schnitzel. From Neue Cuisine, here is a fundamental recipe for schnitzel. The techniques here for creating the schnitzel provide deep insights from Chef Gutenbrunner for creating perfect schnitzel. Mixing the eggs with cream creates a better liquid for attracting bread crumbs, than just eggs alone. And you need plenty of bread crumbs, cups and cups of bread crumbs, so that you can lightly drag the cutlets in the crumbs without having to pat them to get total coverage. No patting, period.
These cutlets might be meat, but they need to be treated with delicacy. You’ll understand why with the first bite.
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 veal top round cutlets [about 6 ounces each], pounded 1/8 inch thick
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 cups canola oil
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, cut into slices, seeds removed
- ¼ cup ligonberry or cranberry preserves
Season the veal cutlets with slat and pepper. In two separate baking pans, spread the flour and the bread crumbs. In a third baking pan, using a fork, lightly beat the eggs with the cream. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels.
In a large skillet, the deeper the better, heat the oil until quite hot. Put the parsley in a strainer, dip it into the oil, and fry for 10 seconds. Remove the strainer, draining well, and transfer the parsley to a small plate.
Dredge 1 cutlet in the flour patting off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip bak into the pan. Coat lightly with the bread crumbs. Do not press the crumbs onto the veal.
Add the butter to the skillet. Add the cutlet to the skillet and fry over high heat, gently moving the skillet in a circular motion to cover the cutlet with fat, until the breading looks bubbly and is starring to brown, about 1 minutes. Turn and cook for another minute, swirling the skillet. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the schnitzel to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cutlets adjusting the heat as necessary so that the coating cooks gradually and evenly, without burning.
Transfer the schnitzels to a warmed platter or plates. Top each with a lemon slice and some fried parsley. Serve with the preserves.
Source: Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna: Recipes from Café Sabarsky, Wallse, and Blaue Gans
James Peterson is a name that any foodie will instantly recognize. His career as chef, restaurant owner and now distinguished writer has earned him accolades every step of the way. Who hasn’t opened Sauces and marveled at the details and scope of that award winner. Peterson is unique in his knowledge, both scientifically of how cooking works and how to translate that insight into beauty and flavor on the plate.
His latest work, Meat: A Kitchen Education, has already been recognized for its quality and importance. James does just what the title says: he provides a solid education to meats of all kinds and all preparations. From chicken to foie gras, his chapters begin with key facts about each meat type, then lead you on to recipes that let you explore the full potential of each meat. In the first chicken chapter, for instance, there are recipes for roasting, poaching, sautéing, fricasseeing, braising, breading, frying, stir-frying, and grilling. The only thing missing is chicken sushi, but I think he’s French background just might have drawn the line there.
Of course, you can count on each recipe working for you here. Peterson is professional whose clear writing will guide you to success every time.
Along the way, Peterson shares some insight and history. Sixty years ago, the average American ate seven pounds of veal a year. Now, it has declined to about one pound. There are stories and reasons aplenty to explain the decline, but veal is meat long recognized for its special quality. The 25 veal recipes in Meat will let you appreciate every aspect of flavor.
This dish, veal chops smothered in mushrooms and cooked in a parchment paper pouch, was intriguing to us from the first glance. The chops are first sautéed, then finished in the pouches so they can literally steam to a rich finish. The taste here, buttery veal and aromatic mushrooms, is captivating. All you need is a good bottle of red on the table.
Veal Chops en Papillote
Yield: 4 servings
- 4 loin or rib veal chops, about ¾pound each
- 1½ pounds wild mushrooms such as chanterelle, morel, porcini, or black trumpet, alone or in combination
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ cup port
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Let the veal chops come to room temperature. Season on both sides with salt and pepper
Quickly rinse the mushrooms in a colander and pat dry. If using large chanterelles, cut them in half or in quarters, following their contours so the pieces maintain their shape. If they are small, leave them whole. If the porcini are large, cut them into thick slices. Morels and black trumpets are usually small enough to leave whole. Set the mushrooms aside.
Place a sauté pan just large enough to hold the chops without crowding over high heat. (Alternatively, sauté the chops in batches or use two pans.) Before the pan gets hot, add 4 tablespoons of the butter to the pan. When the butter begins to froth, add the chops and cook on the first side for about 5minutes, or until well browned. Turn the chops over and brown on the second side the same way. Transfer the chops to a plate and pour the fat out the pan.
Return the pan to high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When the butter froths, add a large handful of the mushrooms and toss and stir for 1 minute. Continue adding the mushrooms, a handful at a time, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, pr until any liquid they release evaporates and they are browned and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place 1 chop in the center of one-half of a large rectangle of parchment paper. Spoon one-fourth of the mushrooms on top of the chop, sprinkle with one-fourth of the thyme, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the port. Brush the edges of the parchment with the egg white, and fold the uncovered half over the chop. Brush the three open edges of the folded parchment and fold over the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and 3 more rectangles of parchment.
Divide the pouches between 2 rimmed sheet pans. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the parchment puffs up.
To serve, put each pouch on a warmed rimmed plate or soup plate, to trap any liquid that spills when the pouches are cut open. Pass a pair of scissors at the table
Source: Meat: A Kitchen Education by James Peterson