Today: A customizable, comforting classic you'll want to make for dinner tonight.
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Not long ago, restaurants were just fun places to eat out -- not the foodist temples of today. And they were often an ode to the owner's homeland, hobby, or previous livelihood: a ski or fishing lodge, a Bahamian beach hut, a Chinese pagoda. At the top of our list is the stube, the Austrian ski shack with crossed skis hung over the mantel, beer steins, pretzel buns as bread, and schnapps. The menus here would invariably feature sides of mustard in glass jars, parsleyed potatoes, krauts and wursts of all kinds, and ultimately, the schnitzel -- crisp and hot and overlapping the plate like Dom DeLuise on a bar stool.
We include schnitzel on the Joe Beef menu twice a year: in the spring with peas, cream, and morels, and in the fall with chanterelles, eggs, and anchovies (of course). Ask your butcher for 4 large pounded schnitzels. Size-wise, default to your biggest pan. You can top the schnitzel with a plain fried egg, or with a lemon wedge alongside.
3 cups all-purpose flour Salt and pepper 4 eggs 1 cup sour cream 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), pulsed for a few seconds in a food processor until the texture of regular bread crumbs 1 cup grated Sbrinz or Grana Padano cheese 4 large pork schnitzels (loin cutlets), pounded by the butcher to 1/4 inch ?thick 1/4 cup canola oil, or more if needed