Pork schnitzel recipe for two. My all-time favorite dinner for two recipe!
I’m considering changing the name of this blog. Something along the lines of Desserts for two…PLUS FRIED THINGS! I love to fry. I was born to fry! I believe I can fry! I believe you can fry, too! If it scares you, can we chat?
I understand frying for a crowd can be intimidating. I consider myself an expert fry mama (as opposed to fry daddy…), but even I wouldn’t take on chicken fingers for a crowd. I would opt to bake them instead. A few months ago, I had a dinner party where I fried pork chops for 8. That is precisely how I learned the lesson that large batch frying isn’t fun for anyone, least of all the fry mama. So, save frying for small batch stuff and date nights, ok?
Another common fear of frying is calories. As a lover of food, this is something I just don’t understand on a deep personal level. But, I will indulge you anyway. I’m nit-picky about measuring oil when I fry. I know that my 1-quart enamel-coated cast iron pot needs exactly 2 cups of oil to fry something small. After I fry, I strain the oil back into the cup for re-use. Hardly any oil is missing. If you’re frying properly, your food is not soaking up the oil. We can cover this more in a bit. I wanted to mention that I re-use my oil for frying about 4-5 times, because with each fry session, the crust gets a little browner. If I know it’s the last use of the oil, I will fry fish for a deeply golden crust. Anytime you fry fish, the oil is pretty much a one-time use. Don’t fry cod followed by funnel cakes. I’m speaking from experience here.
Pork Schnitzel Recipe:
So why is my food absorbing such little oil, yet it has this beautiful, brown crust that shatters at the touch of a fork? I’m so glad you asked. It has to do with temperature. Any recipe worth its weight will call for a certain temperature of oil. Um, don’t ignore it. It’s not a suggestion. But also, my lovely future fry mamas and papas: test the oil once it is at the recommended temperature. Drop a small piece of batter in the oil–it should float and sizzle immediately. If not, it’s not hot enough. When food swims in not-hot-enough oil, it absorbs the oil like a spa wrap treatment. Sometimes in the winter, my skin is so dry that I envy improperly fried food with that greasy coating. But honestly, after making my sweet potato fries recipe, 2 tablespoons of oil was missing. Divide that between two servings (let’s pretend I shared those sweet potato fries and didn’t lie to my husband about burning the first batch), it’s 100-150 calories from oil. I have room for that in my diet.
I learned these great lessons of fried foods from America’s Test Kitchen, and most specifically with their famous easy French Fries recipe. I didn’t believe them that the fries wouldn’t absorb oil during cooking. I measured, fried, and re-measured. Sure enough, they were right. (ATK is always right. Just learn that lesson right now).
I consider it dangerous knowledge that homemade fried food isn’t really all that oily and chock full ‘o calories. You are going to want to fry all the things! And that’s okay.
Personally, I fry in peanut oil and canola oil. In my opinion, the reason restaurant fried food is such a stark contrast of disgustingness is the type of oil they use (usually of dubious origin) and how frequently the oil is replaced with fresh oil (approximately never, according to a restaurant friend).
So, let’s recap, fried friends. Fry in small batches, measure your oil, ensure its temperature before adding the food, and don’t re-use your oil too many times.
Now, can we make some schnitzel? Oh, how I love Schnitzel. My husband and I both have Czech backgrounds, so we cannot resist a plate of schnitzel with German potato salad and sauerkraut. This is a fantastic Sunday supper for us, and surprisingly easy to make for two.
I buy a small pork tenderloin (less than 1 pound), cut it in half on an angle, and then pound away. If you place the pointed end down on the cutting board during pounding, you will get a pretty cutlet shape that fits nicely on half of a dinner plate. If you cut the pork tenderloin in half straight down the middle, you’ll have a thick end and a skinny end. No bueno. Cut at a 45-degree angle, please.
I adapted this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but opted to use panko because I hardly ever have white bread in the house. I am forever indebted to their genius method of cutting the tenderloin in half on an angle. When they mentioned adding oil to the eggs to help with the bread crumbs sticking, I almost wept with joy. Ok, I’m ending this love letter to ATK right now.
Fry on, friends!
- 1 small pork tenderloin, less than 1 pound
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 cup white panko bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- lemon wedges, for serving
- First, place the pork tenderloin on a clean surface. Cut it in half on a 45-degree angle. Place each piece of pork between plastic wrap, and pound with a meat pounder (or rolling pin) until roughly 1/4" thick. It should take on a rough half-moon shape if you place the pointed end down while pounding.
- Sprinkle each pounded cutlet with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- Next, heat 2 cups of the oil in a large Dutch oven until it reaches 375-degrees F.
- Meanwhile, add the bread crumbs to a shallow dish.
- Add the eggs plus 1 tablespoon of the oil in another shallow dish.
- Dip the cutlets in the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs. Use your hands to firmly press the crumbs into the meat. Let the cutlets sit and dry a bit while the oil finishes heating.
- Once the oil is up to temperature, carefully arrange both cutlets in the pan. There should be ample room if you're using a standard Dutch oven pot.
- Fry the cutlets for about 1-2 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 2g Sodium: 548mg Carbohydrates: 60g Sugar: 2g Protein: 8g