I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only one, but I’m the kind of person who peeks in other peoples’ baskets when I’m in a supermarket queue. Surreptitiously of course, I wouldn’t want to appear weird. You can’t blame me. After all, it’s not like there’s much else to do.
One can tell a lot about people from their baskets. Take the woman buying tofu, sprouts and cucumber. It tells me she’s a clean-living sort who probably wouldn’t be much fun at dinner parties. Or the spotty 19-year-old clutching two steaks, a bottle of cheap, sweet bubbly and chocolate eclairs. Tells me he has a big date and is a hopeful sort. Or me, with two bottles of wine mid week and I’m NOT throwing a dinner party… Yup, there’s a lot you can tell about people from their baskets.
Whatever. I don’t judge. But I do think it a pity that ‘convenience food’ features in baskets so often, including mine. Yes, it’s fabulous ripping the packaging off that lasagna and pie and chucking it in the oven but, nine times out of ten, I’m seriously disappointed. Nothing beats home made.
And so on to the schnitzel challenge… You can buy the ready-made one (it needs 25 minutes in an oven), or you can make it from scratch – in 25 minutes! My parmesan and rosemary crusted pork schnitzel is a favourite for when I’m rushed off my feet and dog tired. It’s a super easy recipe, and it’s way, way nicer than the store-bought one. Promise.
All you need is…
rosemary savoury crackers (I used the one from Woolies, but there are loads of others)
half a cup of freshly-grated parmesan (or pecorino)
sprig of fresh rosemary
500g pork fillet (chicken breasts work too, but I adore pork)
6 tbs cake flour
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt (you don’t need much as the crackers and cheese are salty)
generous pinch of black pepper
canola oil for shallow frying
sea salt, for serving
Blitz the rosemary crackers in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine crumbs (you need about two thirds of a cup). Mix the cracker crumbs and parmesan on a dinner plate. Mix the flour, salt and pepper on another dinner plate. Cut the pork fillet into four equal pieces. Place a square of cling film on your breadboard and place one of the pieces of fillet on it. Now top with another square of cling film. Grab a rolling pin and bash away at the fillet to flatten it. How thick you like your schnitzel is up to you. I like it about 1.5cm. Repeat with the other pork pieces. This is hugely satisfying stuff, especially if you picture the face of your latest frenemy/Dilbert-like boss/ex while you’re at it.
Now dip each piece of fillet in the flour and gently shake off any excess. Then dip it into the egg and finally into the crumb/parmesan mixture. Make sure the schnitzels are completely encased in their crumb coating. Heat the oil and fry the fresh rosemary until it’s just crispy. Remove rosemary and set aside for later.
Shallow fry the schnitzels in the same oil (which will now be rosemary infused) until cooked through, crisp and golden on both sides. (You could use olive oil for frying, but I find Canola gives a crisper crust.) Crumble the crispy fried rosemary over the schnitzels and serve immediately with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of sea salt. I like a peppery salad of wild rocket leaves kissed with a simple vinaigrette of Dijon mustard, sea salt, lemon and extra virgin olive oil with this. You can serve this schnitzel recipe with any starch of your choice – think buttery mash or sandwich it between two slices of fresh, warm sourdough. But, as I’m out to prove you can do a decent meal in 25 minutes, why not try my 3-minute butter bean mash (see TIPS, TRICKS AND TRIVIA below). Enjoy!