Wiener Schnitzel

The 1960 Winter Olympics: I remember it like it was yesterday. Just kidding; I was only 5-years-old and not even in third grade yet. It wasn’t until the 1968 Olympics that I really started following them, especially the skiing. I was still a few years shy of skiing for the first time, but watching skiers like Jean Claude Killy, Billy Kidd and Spider Sabich, really was what started to ignite that spark in me to want to ski.

Back then, ski racing wasn’t shown on television often; hey, it still isn’t. But, during the Olympics, they did a pretty good job of showing quite a few skiers coming down the course. These days, they break away from the race to do all these skier profiles, which I must say should be done as a special show before the Olympics begin, instead of showing the race. For most of the racers, they don’t even show their full runs. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to wait until I’m the director to see more of the events.

Once I did start skiing, it was still the Olympics that got the most television coverage and I used those skiers as my teaching model. When they weren’t on television, I would look at pictures of them in the magazines and put those pictures into slow motion in my head. I would take various things, such as hand positioning, from different racers I liked, to see if it worked for me. If it didn’t work, I would go to another racer that was just a little different and try his positioning until I found what was comfortable for my skiing. By the time the 1980 Olympics came around, I had been skiing for nine years and was ski bumming in Stowe, Vt.

With the Olympics in Lake Placid that year, there were a few of the national teams that spent the week before training at Stowe. Since I had a few connections, I got to train with the West Germans and the Italians, and a few other teams that I must say was incredibly awesome. You guys out here always say I have an accent, there were so many different languages being spoken, I had no clue what anyone was saying. Every once in a while though, someone, usually this one German, would slap me on the back and say something with a big grin and it was just a ton of fun. I know, I know, they were probably saying they were wishing they would be racing me, which would mean certain gold for them, but hey, even getting within a couple seconds of their times was pretty good for me.

This is an Olympic year and with the whole international dining in mind, and also in memory of that German skier back in 1980, this week’s entrée is Wiener Schnitzel, which is one of my all-time favorite meals.

Simply put, it is pounded and breaded veal, sautéed and served with lemon and lingonberries, or whole cranberry sauce here. It is easy to prepare and cooks in less than 15 minutes. I will say that because of the price and availability of veal, I usually will substitute either chicken or pork. Whichever meat you want to use, go international for the Olympics and enjoy some Wiener schnitzel.

Wiener Schnitzel
4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless) or 1 pork filet (you can use pork top round or loin)
½ C flour
1 C breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten (start with one)
1/8 C vegetable oil
6 T butter
1 lemon, wedged
¼ C whole cranberry sauce (lingonberries, if available)

If you are using chicken, just pound it until it is an even thickness all the way through. If using pork tenderloin, clean all the fat and silver skin off, and slice into pieces 2” to 21/2” thick. Slice these pieces three-quarters of the way through and fold open (butterfly).

Pound this down to half-inch thick, which will approximately double the area size. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Have a bowl for each of your flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs.

First, dredge the meat in the flour and shake off any excess. Start with one egg, well beaten, and only beat second egg if needed. Dip the meat in the egg to cover and let the excess drain back into the bowl. Dredge in the breadcrumbs.

Get the oil hot in a heavy skillet or sauté pan and add 2 T butter. When the butter is melted and starts to foam, place the meat in the pan at medium high and let it cook until golden on the bottom, which will be probably 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and place in a 350-degree oven to finish, which will probably be around 4 or 5 minutes (maybe slightly longer for thicker pieces of meat). Pat with paper towel to remove excess oil. Brown remaining butter and pour evenly over each portion and serve with lemon wedge and cranberry sauce.

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Chef Smitty
Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is known for his creative use of fresh ingredients. Smitty has been teaching skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for more than 26 years each winter, and spends his summers working for High Sierra Waterski School since 2000. Smitty has been writing his chef column for Tahoe Weekly since 2005.