Chicken Schnitzel with Apple-Fennel Rémoulade
SERVES 4 TO 6
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Chicken schnitzel is defined by thin, tender, juicy cutlets coated in a fine, wrinkly crust that puffs away from the meat during frying. Halving and pounding chicken breasts ¼ inch thick ensured that they were tender and delicate. Fine store-bought bread crumbs held in place by an egg wash formed a compact crust, and adding oil to the eggs made the coating slightly elastic. A large Dutch oven filled with just 2 cups of oil meant there was plenty of headspace when agitating the pot, so the oil washed over the cutlets without spilling. Bathing the cutlets in oil quickly set the crust so that the breading trapped steam, which then caused the coating to puff away from the meat.
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups plain dried bread crumbs
4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups vegetable oil for frying Lemon wedges
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, plus 1 tablespoon brine
4 celery ribs, sliced thin on bias
1 fennel bulb, 1 tablespoon fronds minced, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and sliced thin crosswise
1 apple, cored and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
- FOR THE SCHNITZEL: Spread flour in shallow dish. Beat eggs and 1 tablespoon oil in second shallow dish. Place bread crumbs in third shallow dish. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Line second rimmed baking sheet with double layer of paper towels. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees.
- Halve chicken breasts horizontally to form 8 cutlets of even thickness. Place 1 cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to ¼-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Sprinkle each cutlet on both sides with ¾ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper.
- Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge cutlets thoroughly in flour, shaking off excess, then coat with egg mixture, allowing excess to drip back into dish to ensure very thin coating. Coat evenly with bread crumbs, pressing on crumbs to adhere. Place cutlets on prepared wire rack, taking care not to overlap cutlets. Let coating dry for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 cups oil to large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Lay 2 or 3 cutlets (depending on size) in oil, without overlapping them, and cook, shaking pot continuously and gently, until cutlets are wrinkled and light golden brown on both sides, 1 to 1½ minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to paper towel–lined sheet, flip to blot excess oil, and transfer sheet to oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
- FOR THE RÉMOULADE: Whisk mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, and caper brine together in large bowl. Add celery, fennel bulb, apple, and capers and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fennel fronds and serve.
Photo Credit: Carl Tremblay