Schnitzel is a boneless cut of veal, pounded thin and cooked. “The German word is a diminutive form of ‘cut,’ the equivalent of the English ‘cutlet,'” says paulj. “True schnitzel is a cutlet or paillard of veal that is sliced very thin—or sliced thin and pounded thinner—then dipped in egg wash and bread crumbs, dropped into VERY hot fat so that the bread crumbs brown and crisp almost instantly, turned, then drained lightly and plated,” says Caroline1. Traditionally, it’s served with lemon slices, anchovy, and cranberry relish or jam, says linguafood, although Caroline1 says the traditional plating is a topping of thinly sliced lemons and a dusting of chopped parsley.
“As for the type of meat, traditionally it’s veal, though nowadays it can be veal or pork,” says BobB—”except in Austria, where BY LAW it must be veal. They take their wiener schnitzel seriously! Anything else is not schnitzel, it’s just a pounded, breaded meat cutlet.” Outside of Austria, even nontraditional chicken breast makes lovely schnitzel. “Pound very thinly, do the seasoned flour (I add a lot of paprika for flavor and color), egg wash, panko dip, and fry golden brown,” says linguafood. “I love serving it with bratkartoffen, a.k.a. sautéed or home-fried potatoes, and a simple green salad. And plenty of lemon wedges, as I love a generous squirt of lemon on my schnitzel, and extra salt, since the breading soaks up lemon and salt like nothing else.”