Why, yes, it IS a Wiener schnitzel. When I lived in Munich I ate a lot of schnitzels. Veal (wiener), pork (schwein), you name it. I was a lot less adventurous culinarily speaking and in my memory the only three things that were ever on the menu were schnitzel, schweinshaxe and leberkaese. The last two in that list were a little too much for me - knuckles, and a strange rubbery meat-like substance that was a lot like very hot bologna cut about a half an inch thick. So I ate a lot of schnitzel.
I got tired of it eventually, but for a long time it was my favourite dish. Rich and crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, it was always a reliable choice. It didn't have bones in odd places or hide rubbery fat under a thick sauce. The accompaniments were simple but necessary: a wedge of lemon and a fried egg glistening with a wobbly deep yellow yolk. The lemon cut through the buttery flavour of the crust, which in turn absorbed the thick tasty yolk.
Like many simple dishes, this one relies on impeccable ingredients and perfect timing. The veal cutlet needs to be flattened to a thin slice so that it will cook quickly and remain tender. The cutlet needs to be flipped at exactly the right moment so that you have a nice crispy exterior, not soggy but not burned. You need copious amounts of fresh unsalted butter. And a nice lemon and a fresh organic egg. That's all really. But you have to get every element right or it's just a blah dish, nothing special.
Wiener Schnitzel (serves 2)
The classic Wiener schnitzel is always made with tender veal. If it's made with turkey or pork, you have to say so in the title: Pork Wiener Schnitzel, for example. The good news is that it can easily be made in 15 minutes. It was my plan B for the IMBB: Make it in 30 minutes challenge because it looks classy and yet really is very quick and simple to make.
2 veal cutlets
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs
a lemon wedge
3 eggs, separated (one beaten)
a lot of unsalted butter
Pound the veal cutlets until they are uniformly thin, about a quarter of an inch thick. Dredge them in flour (mixed with a little salt and pepper) and then the beaten egg. Roll them in the bread crumbs until well coated. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. When the butter begins to froth, lay the cutlets in the pan. Keep the heat fairly high, but not high enough to burn the butter. You can add a little olive oil to the butter if you want to play safe; this keeps the butter from burning but you don't want too much as it will add the wrong flavour to the dish. Once a nice brown crust has formed on the cutlets (about five minutes) add another couple tablespooons of butter. Let it melt and then flip the cutlets, moving them around a bit and lifting them, if necessary to get the butter under them.
The breadcrumbs absorb butter like nobody's business: be generous with the butter if the pan looks dry.
When they are cooked through and crusty all over, remove to a warm plate. Crack the two eggs in the pan with the remaing butter. Cook until the eggs are just set but the yolks are still liquid. Slide an egg onto each schnitzel and serve with a wedge of lemon.