In all my years living in and visiting Israel, I never tired of the crisp, freshly breaded and fried cutlets known as schniztel. Adapted by immigrants from the classic Viennese Wiener Schnitzel made with veal, the Israeli version originally featured turkey, which was much more plentiful at the onset of the Jewish State than beef, or even chicken.
In Israel you’ll find a wide variety of schnitzel, adapted to adhere to familial or ethnic traditions and tastes. I like mine a bit spicy and add sesame seeds for a subtle nuttiness. I also prefer a coating of bread crumbs, which provide a crisper crust than matzah meal, which is denser and absorbs more oil.
The spices here are only a recommendation–it’s fun to adjust the herbs to your liking. The smaller tenders make a great snack for kids, and any leftover schnitzel is superb as a day-after sandwich, stuffed into a pita with some salad and a drizzle of tahini.
Serves 3 to 4 (depending on your appetite).
1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken or turkey breast (about 6 breasts), split and trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil for frying
Combine the salt, black pepper, bread crumbs, sesame seeds, paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder/cayenne in a Ziploc bag and shake to combine.
Transfer to a shallow pie plate or other similar dish. Reserve.
Trim tenders from chicken and reserve. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
Place breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a mallet to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch.
Dredge cutlets and tenders in flour, then egg, then bread crumb mixture.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet until hot but not smoking.
Working in batches, lay 2 cutlets in pan and fry until underside is golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes.
Flip and fry an additional 2-3 minutes.
Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.