Monday, October 20, 2008

Darjeeling- Steeped in Tradition

A link to an article I wrote for our summer newsletter:

schnitzel kick

I'm on a schnitzel bender.

It all started with the arugula at the farmers market- so gorgeous and full of flavor that I kept buying it and buying it until I ran out of things to do with it. I could only eat so many arugula, country ham and hazelnut sandwiches (though they're quite sustainable), or saute it and lay it over fried eggs with hot sauce (again, delicious). So, I branched out to my sturdy 'Gourmet Magazine' cookbook- a thick yellow tome of collected recipes from over the years. It hasn't let me down yet, and there are a lot of hidden gems in it. Under arugula in the index was schnitzel with a salad, and I envisioned a greasy cutlet in some dark German bar, but as I read the recipe I became intrigued. Since then I've made it more times than I can count. I clean the plate, and I love that it leaves me feeling full and satisfied without wanting more.

It's pretty simple and efficient. The butcher (Bob Sparrow) does all the hard work of trimming and pounding so that the veal is ready to be seasoned and dipped in flour, than egg and finally bread crumbs. It gets lightly fried in olive oil- for this I've been using a rich, fruity French olive oil, which doesn't have the bitterness that something like a Tuscan might. The arugula gets tossed with shredded carrots and cherry tomatoes in a dijon vinaigrette, and topped with the veal. The piece de resistance is squeezing a lemon over top. It ties everything together beautifully.

Two things that I've found to be important are 1)seasoning the meat before dredging it in flour and 2)being careful to not over-fry the veal- if it's a thin cutlet it should only cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, turning only once. It is beef, afterall, so medium rare is a good temp to shoot for.

If I had a photo (I usually intend to and then forget until after I've finished), you'd see the beautiful green from the arugula, the orange flecks of carrot, and the yellow cherry tomatoes nesting a thin, golden to dark brown cutlet with a lemon wedge on the side.