In the 70s, Wiener schnitzel was a popular meal-in-a-minute — paper-thin veal dipped in seasoned flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs, then quickly fried on each side and served with wedges of lemon and sometimes tartare sauce. It has fallen out of favour but a good Wiener schnitzel is a true delight.

The recipe originated in Milan (scaloppine alla Milanese) and was so relished and praised by an Austrian general during the 1857 military campaign in Italy, it was finally claimed by the Austrians as their own. 

Schnitzel is the German word for ‘cutlet’. The French call them escalopes, the Italians scallopini and the Americans scallops. Whatever the name, schnitzels are a fast fix requiring only 1-2 minutes of pan-frying each side. If overdone, they dry out and become quite tough. The exception to this rule is when they are casseroled as traditional veal or beef olives. 

Many butchers cut the very lean and thin schnitzels to order because they dry out quickly in the display case. They are often pounded to make them even thinner. 

Fresh schnitzels should be used within 24 hours of purchase. However, they are ideal freezer items. Store them with a double layer of baking paper between each schnitzel. Cook from the frozen state.


Loved by my family and friends.

Schnitzels: 2 skinned and boned chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg  
1 tablespoon water
1 cup panko crumbs
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
Dressing: 3 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Nectarines: 3-4 nectarines, stoned and sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
3 bocconcini
Extras: rice bran oil for frying
basil leaves to garnish, sliced if large

Slice the chicken breasts evenly through the centre lengthwise. Flatten each using a rolling pin.

Combine the flour and seasonings on a plate. Beat the egg and water in a medium-sized bowl, until smooth. Combine the panko crumbs and herbs on a flat plate.

Coat the schnitzels with the flour, then dip into the egg mixture until well covered then coat with the breadcrumbs, pressing in well. Chill for 30 minutes to set the coating.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing. Place the nectarines in a bowl. Slice the bocconcini and drizzle with a little of the dressing.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of the rice bran oil in a non-stick frying pan. Pan-fry the schnitzels for 1-2 minutes each side until golden and cooked through. Serve topped with the nectarines and bocconcini. Drizzle with a little more dressing and garnish with basil leaves. Serves 4.


A vegetarian winner.

2 medium eggplants
Tomatoes: 2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon each: finely chopped tarragon, parsley
1-2 tablespoons good vinaigrette
Coating: 2 tablespoons plain flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons olive oil  

Cut each eggplant into 7mm-thick slices lengthwise. Peel any thick ends if preferred. Place on a board and sprinkle both sides with salt. Stand for 20 minutes to soften.

Meanwhile combine the tomato mixture ingredients.

Rinse the eggplant slices under cold water and pat dry. Dust with flour. Whisk the egg and water. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture then in the combined breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper. Chill for 20 minutes to set the coating.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan on medium. Pan-fry the ‘schnitzels’ for about 3 minutes each side until golden and cooked. Serve topped with the tomato mixture. Great garnished with sprigs of tarragon. Serves 4.


Pound the beef with a rolling pin until almost paper thin.

500g beef schnitzels
1/3 cup plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon each: dried oregano, basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
Topping: finely grated rind and juice 1 lemon
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cut the schnitzel into serving-sized pieces. Snip the edges. Combine the flour and seasonings. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. 

Quickly dredge the schnitzels in the seasoned flour. Fry in the oil for 1-2 minutes each side, until golden. Combine the topping ingredients and warm slightly. Serve the schnitzels drizzled with the topping. Serves 4.


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