Cooking With Chef Michael Olson: Mini Schnitzel Sliders

 

The golden crust on a schnitzel is just so appealing and even more so as the star of a satisfying sandwich with your own custom-made ranch dressing. This is a fairly easy meal for the family or better yet, a huge platter piled high with these sliders to entertain a crowd for an open house Holiday beerfest or a big game on the tube.

At home these are called “Schnitzengrubens” as an ode to the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles.  Of course fans know that the term refers to a sausage in the flick but the name is just so great that it stuck with this dish. You can cook them start to finish for lunch or pre-cook and warm the tasty little cutlets in the oven when expecting a crowd. I should know as I have fed these to a receptive audience of 40 on several occasions.

Bun selection is crucial as you need to get the right size so it is not too big – you don’t want the bun to schnitzel ratio to get out of line. Choose small slider buns, Parkhouse rolls or, if you’re into it, make them at home.

Depending on the appetite, general size, and lack of social decorum of your guests, plan for between 2 and 4 of these tasty little devils per person.

Serves 8.

 Ingredients:

  • 500 g                           pork tenderloin (one piece)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup                            all-purpose flour
  • 1                                    egg
  • 2 Tbsp                         milk
  • 1 ½ cups                     bread crumb
  • ½ cup                          canola oil
  • 2 tsp                             butter
  • you will need a re-sealable plastic bag and a meat tenderizer to shape the cutlets

Ranch Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp                        mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp                        sour cream
  • ½ cup                         buttermilk
  • 2                                  green onions, finely sliced
  • 1 clove                        garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

For the ranch dressing: 

  1. Whisk all ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Store covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

For the sliders:

  1. Trim the pork tenderloin of “silver skin” and cut into 8 equal sized medallions.
  2. One at a time, place the pork portions into a re-sealable plastic bag that has been cut open. Using the meat tenderizer, gently flatten the pork into a cutlet just a little bigger than the intended bun.
  3. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  4. Prepare a breading station by setting three bowls with flour in one, egg and milk whisked together in the second bowl and breadcrumbs in the third. You will also need a plate or tray to put the breaded schnitzels onto until they are cooked.

These can be done up to a day ahead and stored covered in the fridge with extra breadcrumbs to prevent sticking.

To cook:

  1. Heat oil and butter in large skillet over high heat. Watch carefully and you will notice the butter rise in a foam then subside. Once the foam has dropped, the oil is hot enough (should be between 325 and 350 F so don’t turn your back on it).
  2. Reduce heat if necessary. Gently add the breaded schnitzels into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes. Using kitchen tongs, turn the schnitzels over and cook 2 minutes further on the second side.
  3. Once golden brown on both sides, remove to a tray fitted with a cooling rack. This will drain any excess oil and can be used to reheat the meat, keeping the breading crisp.

At this point, you can wait for your guests to arrive, as the reheating will only take 5-10 minutes in a moderate (300F oven). You can also choose to add cheese to the schnitzels.

To assemble, split the rolls and dress with a hot schnitzel. They can be left alone or fastened with a toothpick, perhaps with a slice of pickle on top.  Serve with extra ranch dressing on the side for those who just can’t get enough.

Enjoy!