Friday, May 13, 2011

Memories of Berlin, Sanssouci And... Wiener Schnitzel Holstein

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This is a variation of the legendary Austrian dish and a specialty of Berlin. While Wiener Schnitzel is simply a breaded veal cutlet, it is acceptable to add a topping depending on where you eat it.

Right after the fall of the Berlin Wall I was in that city and had the opportunity to eat it this way and was hooked. It was also on that trip that I fulfilled my lifelong wish to visit Sanssouci, the summer palace of Frederick The Great in Potsdam near Berlin.

"Quand je serai là, je serai sans souci" (Once I am there, I shall be carefree)

                                                                                               Frederick the Great 1744.




After the reunification of Germany the final wish of Frederick the Great was realized. On August 17, 1991, the 205th anniversary of his death, the sarcophagus with the mortal remains of the King was laid out in the forecourt of Sanssouci palace, escorted by an honour guard of the Bundeswehr. The burial took place that night in the tomb Frederick had planned for the purpose since 1744 on the highest terrace of the vineyards that surround it. I was there much earlier, literally right after the fall and just as they were taking down the barricades, and missed seeing his grave.

If you have never visited Sanssouci I encourage you to do so as well as the Neues Palais on the western part of the park and a short walk from the summer residence. Sanssouci is a jewel of a palace, small and intimate, nothing like the grandeur of the Neues Palace which Frederick the Great built to commemorate his victories after the Seven Year's War. Architecturally, the latter rivals Versailles.  On the way back stop in Potsdam at Cecilienhof and visit the site of the conference.



Everything is in close proximity and easy to do in one day. I was lucky to travel in the car of the head of Deutsche Bank in Berlin who lent me his driver as well.  It was not only a luxury but also the only way to easily get there so soon after the fall. The palace is in the former East Germany and, although hard to imagine nowadays, to go from one side to the other in those days was quite a feat, particularly since nobody spoke English except our driver  He came along on the tour which was in German and thanks to him we were able to follow along.

I was completely unprepared for this visit and had not done as much research as I usually like to do before I visit a new place.   When after our business meeting our friend suddenly asked, "What would you like to see while you are in Berlin?" without missing a beat, I said Sanssouci! But I will never forget it for it was indeed a privilege to be there at the time. 

So that and the veal are some of my Berlin memories, although Checkpoint Charlie is not too far behind!

As to the recipe, it is very simple and straight forward. I have broken it down in case you want to omit the Holstein bit and avoid the egg. Nowadays, it is also acceptable to substitute pork for veal although, in my mind, it wouldn't be the same!

Wiener Schnitzel
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds veal scallops, divided by 4 and pounded thin as for scaloppini
1/2 cup flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 lemon

Directions

Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in 3 individual shallow dishes. Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, shake of excess, dredge through egg, and last in bread crumbs.

Heat the oil in large skillet, add butter, and heat until foam subsides. Add 1 Schnitzel at a time to pan, brown from both sides about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels and place in 250 degree F oven to keep warm. Repeat with other Schnitzel. Serve with lemon wedges.

Holstein Variation

4 eggs
4 to 8 anchovies
8 teaspoons capers, if desired

Fry eggs and top each cutlet with an egg. Top with 1or 2 anchovy fillets and sprinkle with capers, to taste

Recipe adapted from Food Network.
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9 comments:

  1. One of our favorite dishes in Germany!!! I make it sometimes when I can find veal -- which is very rare here in the states. Make it with pork -- never!

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  2. Great post, m'dear. I haven't been to Berlin since before the wall came down, and I am longing to go back and see it, particularly Museum Island, with all of the marvelous Schinkel neoclassical buildings. When I visited Berlin long ago, in the late 1970s, I did so as the guest of the US army, which billeted me and the other fellows I was traveling with in what had been Herman Goering's house during the war, in the outskirts of the city, where three of us shared the enormous master bedroom. I will never forget the bathroom, which was an art deco fantasy of marble, black glass, and nickel. It was fascinating, and creepy, and marvelous all at the same time. And yes, a good Weinerschnitzel is absolutely divine! Reggie

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  3. Well then Reggie, we must plan a trip, for I am also longing to see it again after the cleanup.

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  4. Make me the Wiener Schnitzel and I will love you forever.

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  5. John H.

    I thought you already did! anytime

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  6. Great post and what a risky time to go just when the wall had been demolished, although I bet it was a very inspiring to experience that.
    Thanks for sharing a great recipe and do you have any good recommendations for style of wine to go with it?

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  7. While you should have a German wine, which I am not partial to, a not too dry white Burgundy will do nicely.

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  8. That was fascinating, thank you for teaching us about Sanssouci.

    I grew up eating various kinds of schnitzel at a delicious Austrian restaurant in Cincinnati, a city settled by Germans. One of their varieties was the Holstein, it was the favorite of one of my brothers. Schintzel is a sentimental comfort food that I crave in the winter. I have converted my husband as well!

    Love your blog and your taste in food. Every recipe of yours I have tried we have loved!

    stylishserendipity.blogspot.com

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