I had an empty fridge. There was simply a lone red cabbage at the bottom of the crisper and a free-range chicken breast. But there was a little greeny dill on the windowsill, pears in the fruit bowl and half a stale loaf of sourdough. Sarah said, “Shnitzel!”
The sourdough crumbs (after blitzing the loaf in the food processor) make a difference here. It gives the schnitzel a great crumb with a slight hint of sourdough sour. It really is good. And we have been using pear in salads lately as they are delightfully in season. Slipping them into a fennel and mint salad, or here in the red cabbage coleslaw the pears give a sweet little surprise in amongst all that bitter pink.
The recipe below has a few additions to the bare bones schnitzel we made that weekday-last minute night but it’s still really basic, especially if you have some herbs on hand from the garden.
chicken schnitzel with a red cabbage, pear and fennel slaw.
for the Schnitzel:
2 free-range chicken breasts
5 tbsp plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
3 free-range eggs beaten in a wide rimmed bowl
1/2 small loaf of sourdough bread (day old is best) blitzed in the food processor to make course crumbs, seasoned with salt & pepper
5 tbsp veg oil
for the Cabbage, Pear & Fennel Coleslaw
1/4 red cabbage shredded finely
juice of 1 lemon/lime
1/2 pear sliced very finely
1 small fennel bulb shredded finely
1 handful mint/dill/parsley
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
Spread out full chicken breast on a large board and using a mallet, pound until 1/2cm thick. I find its easier starting in the middle of the chicken breast and pounding outwards. Cut the breasts where it naturally sections. Place the seasoned flour on a flat plate/board and coat the chicken pieces on all sides with the flour. Make sure there are no missing bits. Once coated in flour, coat the chicken breasts in the egg mixture til covered all over and allow for any excess egg to drizzle off the chicken. Finally, place the egg covered chicken in the seasoned breadcrumbs and cover til all sides are evenly coated.
Combine shredded pear, fennel, cabbage, herbs in a bowl. To another small bowl add yoghurt, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix. This slaw is very flexible, use what is in season or what you have in your fridge (carrot, savoy cabbage, apple). You could add mustard to the dressing, or any number of things.
Dress your salad when you are ready to eat, otherwise it will go quite soppy and the colour won’t stay fresh.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan. (Vegetable oil or any ‘hot oil’ can be used here.) Cook schnitzel in batches, about 2mins on each side, until golden. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot, you may have to adjust the temperature as you go. And try not to crowd the pan. Place the schnitzel on absorbent paper to mop up any excess oil.
Serve on your dressed slaw with lime and salt. Serves 2 to 4 depending on appetite.