How to make the best chicken schnitzel (Cooking from the Heart)

I have a new pet hate.  Cook book reviews where it is clear the reviewer has not cooked a single thing from the cook book.  What use is that? Anyone of us can go to a bookstore and flip through a cook book to see what the layout and pictures look like or even check out the cover and the blurb on Amazon.

Chicken schnitzel with red cabbage

I was sad to see one of those very reviews about the new cookbook Cooking from the Heart: A Journey Through Jewish Food.  The review uses weasly words like “according to the authors” when suggesting that a dish was easy to prepare.  This makes me sad as Cooking From the Heart is a book that deserves more than a quick flick for a review, it should be cooked from.

The book 

Certainly it is beautiful to look at with stunning photography of the cooks and kitchens involved alongside the shots of the food.  It’s also lovely to read as well, featuring recipes and stories from 27 Jewish cooks.  These are not celebrities either, Mirka Mora gets a mention but otherwise these are all home cooks passing on family recipes from around the world.

The cookbook includes personal histories and photographs as well as recipes

Recipes that get passed down families tend to be the type of recipes that work and so it was with the two I tested, a recipe for chicken schnitzel and for red cabbage and apple coleslaw by Canadian Jew Corby-Sue Neumann.  The coleslaw was tart but sweet while the schnitzel was truly sensational with a perfectly seasoned and spiced golden crust.

Those reviewers who don’t cook anything from the cookbook don’t know what they are missing out on!

Ready to coat the schnitzels

Herb crusted chicken schnitzel
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp paprika
2 free range eggs
2 skinless free range chicken breasts
Canola oil
1 lemon cut into wedges
Herb crust
2 cups dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp sea salt

Crumbed schnitzels ready to be fried

1.  Combine the flour and paprika in a large bowl and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a drop of water.  In a third bowl mix together the herb crust ingredients.

2.  Slice each chicken fillet in half so it becomes to thing portions.  Cover the chicken peices with plastic wrap and gently flatten out with a meat mallet.

3.  Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour first, then dip into the egg wash and then into the herb crust mixture. Set aside on a plate.

4.  Pour about 2cm of oil into a shallow, heavy based frying pan.  Bring the pil to just below smoking point.  Fry the schnitzels one at a time for about 2 mins on the first side, or until golden brown, then flip the schnitzel over and cook for another minute.  Drain on paper towels and keep warm while cooking the remaining schnitzels.

5.  Serve hot garnished with lemon wedges.

Serves four

Red cabbage and apple coleslaw 

Red cabbage and apple coleslaw
1/2 red cabbage
1/2 brown onion
1 granny smith apple
3 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 bunch dill, roughly chopped
14 bunch curly parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsps caraway seeds
2 tbsp caster sugar

1.  Using a sharp knife, mandolin slicer or food processor, finely slice the cabbage, onion and apple and place in a large bowl.  (I used the normal attachment on my food processor and it was a bit too finely sliced, a mandolin attachment would be better).

2.  Drizzle the salad with the oil, vinegar and gently toss. Then add the herbs, caraway seeds and sugar and gently toss again.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves six to eight.

I was sent a review copy of Cooking from the Heart: A Journey Through Jewish Food.

Posted by: on March 6th, 2012     13 Comments »

Category: Books, Recipe - Lunch
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13 Comments on “How to make the best chicken schnitzel (Cooking from the Heart)”

  1. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said at 8:19 am on March 7th, 2012:

    I think most reviews are not based on anyone actually cooking anything from the book which is a real shame. I mean you’re really missing a crucial part of it as to whether the recipes actually work or not! :P I’ve actually found so many recipes don’t work or the pictures are for a completely different item.

  2. Kavey said at 8:57 am on March 7th, 2012:

    Yes yes yes, I have been saying this for some time, as I too find reviews of cookery books which are just a reaction to flicking through the book utterly useless. As you say, I can do that myself in a shop, before buying it. What I want to know is whether the recipes are accurate, whether the instructions are easy to follow, whether the results are good and look anything like the pictures…

    I don’t post cookery book reviews without trying a recipe and sharing how I got on, as to me, that’s the difference between a genuine review and a puff piece.

  3. thelittleloaf said at 9:45 am on March 7th, 2012:

    You are SO right. You get tons of those kind of reviews on Amazon too – lots of ‘great recipes, gorgeous photos’ type comments without any proof that they actually work! These schnitzels look amazing and a great choice to showcase the kind of stuff in the book!

  4. Katy Salter @ Pinch of Salt said at 1:58 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    Very good point – not only is a review where it’s clear the reviewer has tried a selection of recipes more useful, it’s generally a better depth too. Although I like to know about the layout, design, pics and writing style of the aithor are good too.

  5. willeatsanddrinks said at 2:11 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    Totally unrelated to the previous four comments, but that red cabbage and apple coleslaw looks fantastic!

  6. Jeanne said at 4:51 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    So true!! If I read a cookbook review, I want to read about the experience of cooking from the book. As you say, anybody can flick through a book and look at the pics – it’s only when you try out a recipe that you get a true measure of the book. Love the chicken schnitzels – some of my favourite things!

  7. tori said at 7:25 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    Completely agree. Though best chicken schnitzel is a big call :) I think the world is firmly divided into those who like a puffy schnitzel and snug ones. This looks like a great snug one. But I’m a puffy girl all the way….

  8. martin said at 8:42 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    wow this crusty chicken recipe looks perfect ! copy/past into my to-do recipes folder ! :d

  9. Gourmet Chick said at 10:53 pm on March 8th, 2012:

    Kavey – I had an inkling you might feel the same way as me about this. Nothing annoys me more.

    The Little Loaf – I sometimes wonder if it is just the author’s friends, the reviews I listen to are the ones where people have tested the recipes and they actually work.

    Katy Salter – I agree lay out and style are important as well but whether the recipes actually work or not and are easy to follow is key for me.

    Will – It was great with the schnitzel but if I made it again I would use a bigger attachment on my food processor as I think it was a bit too finely diced.

    Jeanne – We are on the same wave length I think – cooking from the book is what it is all about!

    Tori – A big call I know, but I swear it was even better than the king of chicken schnitzels that I had on my last version to Berlin.

    Martin – I hope you enjoy it.

  10. Lauren aka Ms Baklover said at 3:29 am on March 17th, 2012:

    Thanks for this – I have tried to cook schnitzel and despite it seemingly being something you couldn’t stuff up, mine weren’t very nice! I think I haven’t been using enough oil. Will give this recipe a try!

  11. Pieta Simone said at 4:34 am on March 9th, 2013:

    loved this recipe, thank you. I put in some almond meal and less flour and added fresh herbs. Yumo! Easily THE best schnitzel I’ve eaten and I love my schnitzel!

  12. Rudolf Adamkovič said at 6:52 pm on April 28th, 2013:

    This is the best schnitzel I’ve ever had. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Megan Emery said at 12:54 pm on May 31st, 2014:

    This is my go to recipe for chicken schnitzel… it really is the best chicken schnitzel we have ever eaten and we have cooked it alot! Thankyou for the recipe it is on my fridge


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