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Wiener Schnitzel isn't exactly an unknown dish, but the devil's in the detail. Wiener Schnitzel comes from Wien (Vienna). That's not a foregone conclusion: Wiener Würstchen (Viennese sausages), which the Americans call simply Wieners, come from Frankfurt am Main; the corresponding sausages in Vienna are called Frankfurter.

It's almost impossible to get a real Wiener Schnitzel in Germany, for example, just “Schnitzel wiener Art” (“Viennese style Schnitzel”). In Germany, it's almost invariably pork, but the original is made from veal. But that's not the only difference. Almost every recipe that I have seen describes the same way to make it: take the Schnitzel, put through flour, egg and then breadcrumbs, cool for a while and fry in a pan until golden. There's some difference of opinion about what it should be fried in; candidates are butter and lard. But one way or another, it's not a difficult dish.

But they don't do it that way in Vienna. Instead of frying in a pan, they deep fry it. We've been trying it that way for a while, and I've come to the conclusion that it's better. In a pan, the breadcrumbs absorb too much fat, and the dish tastes soggy. With deep frying, it comes out crisp, and it also seems to be tenderer. Currently I'm setting the friteuse to 180°, but that may change. They're done in 2 minutes.

Why don't I find this in the cookbooks? I haven't found many in my collection of cookbooks, but they all use a pan (Bonniers Kokbok mentions deep frying, but it still prefers frying in butter in a pan). The German Wikipedia page does state that the schnitzel should be fried in plenty of fat, but it's still in a pan.


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