By Scott Leysath
What's in a name? Well, when it refers to tenderized meat coated with breadcrumbs and then panfried, it depends on where you're from. We call it "chicken-fried," as in chicken-fried steak. But in Austria and Germany it's known as schnitzel. By the way, although some folks think Wiener schnitzel has something to do with sausages—it doesn't. It's actually pounded veal.
Most schnitzel recipes call for tenderizing the meat by placing it between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap to avoid making a mess. I've found, however, that freezer bags work best because they don't tear as easily. Pounding a chunk of meat until it is about a quarter inch thick will not only tenderize it, but also make it cook more evenly and quickly. You'll know the schnitzel is done when the breading turns golden brown.
Schnitzel is a good match for waterfowl breasts, especially those of tougher species such as dark-fleshed divers. You can also try this recipe with Canada goose breast fillets. With gamier-tasting fowl, it's best to soak them in a marinade for a few hours after flattening them with a mallet.
Duck Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce
This recipe can be prepared with duck breast fillets of any size. Allow one fillet per person for larger ducks such as mallards, pintails, and canvasbacks, and two per person when using smaller ducks.
Preparation Time: 10–15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10–15 minutes
- 4 to 8 duck breast fillets, skin removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups flour, seasoned with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 6 eggs, whisked with 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Step 1 To prepare the mushroom sauce, heat the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, and rosemary. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir to distribute evenly. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in chicken broth and Dijon mustard. Then simmer, uncovered, until sauce thickens. Keep warm.
Step 2 To prepare the duck schnitzel, place the breast fillets inside a freezer bag or between sheets of plastic wrap. Lightly pound fillets with a mallet or heavy skillet until they are about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Step 3 Place three shallow bowls on a work surface. Put the seasoned flour in the first bowl, the egg mixture in the second, and the breadcrumbs in the third. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge each duck breast fillet in the flour mixture. Shake off any excess. Then dip the fillet in the egg mixture, coating evenly on all sides. Press into the breadcrumbs, coating evenly. Shake off excess. Then place the coated fillets, one or two at a time, into the skillet and brown them evenly on both sides. Drain the schnitzel on paper towels and keep warm.
Step 4 To serve, arrange the schnitzel on plates and spoon mushroom sauce over.