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Schnitzel: Israeli Cutlets

The ultimate comfort food.  By Adeena Sussman

In Israel you’ll find a wide variety of schnitzel, adapted to adhere to familial or ethnic traditions and tastes. I like mine a bit spicy and add sesame seeds for a subtle nuttiness. I also prefer a coating of bread crumbs, which provide a crisper crust than matzah meal, which is denser and absorbs more oil.

The spices here are only a recommendation–it’s fun to adjust the herbs to your liking. The smaller tenders make a great snack for kids, and any leftover schnitzel is superb as a day-after sandwich, stuffed into a pita with some salad and a drizzle of tahini.



Serves 3 to 4 (depending on your appetite).

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken or turkey breast (about 6 breasts), split and trimmed

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning

1 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup oil for frying


Combine the salt, black pepper, bread crumbs, sesame seeds, paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder/cayenne in a Ziploc bag and shake to combine.

Transfer to a shallow pie plate or other similar dish. Reserve.

Trim tenders from chicken and reserve. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Place breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a mallet to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch.

Dredge cutlets and tenders in flour, then egg, then bread crumb mixture.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet until hot but not smoking.

Working in batches, lay 2 cutlets in pan and fry until underside is golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes.

Flip and fry an additional 2-3 minutes.

Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.


Adeena Sussman is a food writer and chef based in New York. She writes the bimonthly food column “Season to Taste” for Hadassah Magazine.

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