The Chicken Schnitzel Recipe That Satisfied My Craving
I had an experience recently in which I was dying (literally dying) for some chicken tenders. When the craving hits, the craving hits HARD...and this particular instance was subsequent to a long night of meetings at the office. So, I was gonna reward myself with some damn tenders and I made my colleagues very aware of my intention.
I live on the East Side, so my plan was hit up Popeyes (generally a solid decision - their spicy tenders are 🔥) ...but they were sold out of tenders (wait....WHAT?!?). I then begrudgingly and quite honestly stubbornly trudged to Germantown, the next-closest Popeye’s location ~ and they were ALSO out of tenders (seriously, wtf?!). In all out desperation, I went to McDonalds, which I never, ever, do. And you guessed it, they were also out. What. was. happening? In the end, I nourished myself with something probably more healthy but definitely not as satisfying. #firstworldproblems.
The next day at the office, I of course shared my disappointing evening and Maddie, gem that she is, ended up finding the freaking best alternative for me - a chicken schnitzel recipe that I can make myself. Given the cooking journey I recently wrapped up with Basically’s 10x10, I was thrilled to have another project in the kitchen. And the result? Ah-freaking-mazing! I will make this recipe one thousand times over and know it will always end in bliss.
That’s Chicken /ˈSHnitsəl/ (pronouncing it is more difficult than frying it!)
1 tbsp honey
1 large shallot
3 tbsp neutral oil (plus more for frying 4-6 cups)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
5 tsp dijon mustard, plus more for serving
8 chicken cutlets (about 1.5 lb total)
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
Freshly ground black pepper
10 stalks celery with leaves
Rimmed baking sheet
1. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon into a large bowl and pick out any seeds.
2. Whisk 1 Tbsp. honey into lemon juice.
3. Peel and thinly slice 1 large shallot into rings. Add to bowl with lemon juice mixture, season with 1 tsp. salt, and let sit, stirring occasionally with a spoon, at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, pour neutral oil into a large Dutch oven to a depth of about 1" (4–6 cups oil) and heat over medium-high. If you have a deep fry thermometer (also known as a candy thermometer), clip it on to the side of the pot and keep an eye on it; if not, use an instant-read thermometer to check the oil temperature every few minutes. You want it right around 350° (this will take about 10 minutes total). As it surpasses the 300° mark, reduce heat to low so you get to your target temperature gradually. Maintaining the oil temperature requires some finesse, but it gets easier with practice! It's always okay to stop, adjust the heat, and wait for it to get to where you want it.
Note: Be careful with this! I, myself, am a frying ameteur and did a fantastic job of smoking out the house. (Fire alarms included!) Definitely a learning lesson!
5. While you're waiting for the oil to heat up, prep your chicken for frying: Whisk ½ cup all-purpose flour, 2 large eggs, 3 tsp. mustard, 2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in a medium bowl.
6. Working in batches, add 8 chicken cutlets to bowl and toss until coated.
7. Pour 2 cups plain breadcrumbs onto a rimmed baking sheet. (You can use panko here if you want, but you'll want to grind them in a food processor first—we want fine crumbs here for maximum coverage.) Dredge cutlets one at a time, pressing down so an even layer of crumbs adheres to each one. Transfer chicken to a plate as you go; set aside.
8. Whisk remaining 2 tsp. mustard into bowl with pickled shallots. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in 3 Tbsp. neutral oil to create an emulsified vinaigrette. Season with salt and lots of pepper.
9. Thinly slice 10 celery stalks with leaves on a bias and add to bowl with vinaigrette.
10. Trim and thinly slice 8 radishes. Add to salad bowl and give everything a good toss.
11. Check oil and adjust temperature so thermometer registers around 350°. Working with 2 cutlets at a time and using tongs, carefully slide chicken into hot oil and cook, turning once, until crispy and browned, 1–2 minutes per side. Keep an eye on the oil temperature, which will drop when you add the chicken; increase heat if needed to maintain 350°. Transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack. Season with a little bit of salt and repeat with remaining cutlets.
12. Slice 1 lemon into wedges for serving
13. Divide salad and schnitzel among plates. Top with a few grinds of pepper and serve with mustard and lemon wedges for squeezing over.