Chicken schnitzel with potato salad works really well as a lunch or light, quick dinner. The crispiness of the chicken and sharpness of the potatoes pair perfectly with rocket salad. When we went on a trip to Vienna a few years ago, I ended up eating this almost every day because it really is that good!
The quality of your meat is paramount for this meal. Cheap, watery chicken will produce a soggy and tasteless schnitzel. Free range organic chicken breasts are the best way to go, if you have large chicken breasts you can even economise by cutting them in half lengthways before pounding to produce two cutlets.
Though not strictly traditional, the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan make an amazing coating for the chicken. Panko are a much more refined and textured type of breadcrumb than the homemade variety, so they give a crispier finish. The parmesan really adds a bit of depth and saltiness to the flavour of the schnitzel.
Schnitzel is a lovely German word that literally means ‘slice’. Several European cultures simultaneously developed similar concepts to the schnitzel, such as escalopes in France and milanese in Italy. In Austria, the most famous type of schnitzel is Wienerschnitzel, or ‘Viennese slice’, which is made with veal and has to come from a controlled origin to be considered authentic. There are two competing stories that claim the origin of schnitzels:
- The first claims that in the Byzantine Empire (circa 870AD), meat was served covered in gold leaf, and to imitate the golden appearance those who couldn’t afford gold leaf started covering cutlets in breadcrumbs.
- The second claims that schnitzels were discovered in Italy by Joseph Graf Radetzky, a commander of the Austrian troops, in the 1800s. It was said that the Austrians perfected the milanese, which at that time was a much thicker cutlet of veal, by pounding it until it was finger width, enabling it to cook quicker and more evenly.
WHAT YOU NEED
Where possible, try to buy local, seasonal, free range and organic ingredients. Apart from it being better to support local businesses and good farming practises, it does make a huge difference to the taste of your food!
For the Schnitzel:
2 free range chicken breasts
1 large egg
3 tsp finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
100g panko breadcrumbs
25g finely grated parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the potato salad:
200g waxy potatoes, such as desiree
200ml vegetable stock (ideally homemade)
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
dijon mustard (1-2 tsp)
1 tsp sugar
a large pinch of salt
Pepper, to taste
Chives or parsley, to garnish
- Peel the potatoes and slice thinly into discs, if they are large cut the discs in half. Boil for 10-15 mins, until the potatoes are soft but not disintegrated.
- In a bowl, mix together the stock, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, put your chicken breast between two pieces of cling film and pound with a pestle or the end of a rolling pin until it’s about 1.5cm thick.
- Heat butter in a pan with a drop of oil on a high heat. Whisk the eggs, garlic, parsley and salt together in a shallow wide bowl. Put your breadcrumbs onto a separate plate. Dip the chicken breast in the egg mixture until coated, then dip it in the breadcrumbs until covered.
- Once the pan is hot, place the chicken breast in, it should sizzle immediately. Shuffle the pan from time to time as it cooks to stop it sticking. After the chicken seems almost cooked through, flip the schnitzel to cook on the other side. The bottom should be a golden brown.
- While the second side of the schnitzel is cooking, drain your potatoes, tip them into the stock and vinegar mixture and turn over until they’re evenly coated. Sprinkle with chives or parsley to garnish.
- Once the schnitzel is cooked, plate everything up and eat immediately. I like to eat this dish with a rocket salad and a drizzle of olive oil.
LF – omit the parmesan in the breadcrumbs
GF – use gluten free breadcrumbs
V – use a Quorn substitute instead of the chicken
Ve – use a Quorn substitute instead of the chicken, omit the parmesan in the breadcrumbs