Surprisingly, the best pork schnitzel or schweineschnitzel I’ve had was not in Germany. We were more about the pork shank or schweinshaxe in our dining endeavors. However, I had great pork schnitzel and buttermilk spaetzle at a restaurant here in San Antonio called Maverick. Perfectly crispy with a tart lemon caper sauce and the schnitzel was almost the size of the plate. It was incredible and so I set out to recreate it. This is also another dish I would serve for Valentine’s Day at home. It’s comforting, but elegant and will be so impressive to whoever has the pleasure of dining with you.
It seems like there are a lot of components to this dish, but there are some shortcuts you can take to cut down on prep. The spaetzle can be made ahead of time so long as you toss it with a little oil to keep it from sticking. Then it can be just warmed in the browned butter before serving. The pork can be butterflied ahead of time. You could even bread the pork, freeze it, and fry it directly from frozen! You’ll want to bring the oil up to 400 degrees F if that’s the case because the pork will cool down the oil as soon as it goes in.
By the way, have you ever had spaetzle?! It’s magical in its simplicity. Like a cross between dumplings and egg noodles. The traditional method of making spaetzle calls for pressing the batter through a colander but forget that noise, too much work and too messy. I throw my batter into a piping bag or a ziplock and pipe it directly into boiling water. Way less clean up and turns out just as great. The buttermilk gives it a really nice tang too.
Why buttermilk, you ask? I forgot whole milk at the store. And that is basically cooking in a nutshell and if I can impart anything through this blog, I hope it’s this: I want you to feel comfortable in the kitchen adapting a recipe. Is it going to ruin the recipe if you don’t have any milk and use water instead? NO. And that’s cooking in a nutshell. It’s adaptation. Adaptation to your space, to your equipment, to your ingredients, to what you have on hand. I don’t want that art to ever be lost because that’s true cooking at its finest.
Anyway, this is the perfect meal for a Valentine’s Day at home. And you can find the step-by-step instructions for this pork schnitzel with buttermilk spaetzle on my instagram highlights to make it that much easier for you! Happy cooking!
This is probably one of the tastiest and most elegant meals I’ve ever made at home!
- 4 pork ribeye steaks, about 1 inch thick
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups panko bread crumbs
- canola oil, for frying
- lemon slices, for serving
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped parlsey
Lemon, Caper and Dill Sauce
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 stick unsalted butter, diced and divided
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped capers
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
- salt and pepper
- To make the pork: Using a sharp knife, butterfly the pork steaks. If you are unfamiliar with this technique, you’ll want to cut it almost all the way in half through the middle leaving you with a larger, much thinner steak. If you were to pound the meat thin, it would destroy this particular cut since it’s already very tender. Pat the pork steaks very dry. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, water, dijon, and salt until very smooth, the batter should be the texture of pancake batter. Pour the panko crumbs into a shallow pan. Season the pork steaks with salt and pepper. Dip the pork into the batter, shaking off any excess, and then coat it well in the panko crumbs. Repeat with the other three steaks. Heat one inch of canola oil in a wide bottomed, high sided pot (reduces splatter, a dutch oven works well) to 360 degrees F. Fry the steaks, one at a time, for 3-4 minutes per side until deeply golden brown. Transfer the fried steaks to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and into a 200 degree oven to keep them crispy (they’ll stay crispy for well over an hour).
- To make the spaetzle: mix the flour, eggs, buttermilk, dijon, salt and pepper together until a thick batter forms. Transfer the batter to a piping bag or a large ziplock bag. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cut a small hole at the end of the piping bag and pipe small pieces into the water (about an inch and a half long). Cook for 1 minute and then transfer the spaetzle to a baking sheet coated with a little olive oil. Repeat until all the batter has been used up. Melt butter in a skillet and just when the butter is turning golden brown, add the spaetzle to the pan. Cook for 1 minute per side, until slightly golden brown. Add the chopped parsley to the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To make the sauce: In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped shallot and cook until soft. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Reduce the heat to very low and whisk in the remaining butter, a few cubes at a time, until smooth and melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream, lemon zest, dill and capers. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over the pork.
I know this seems like a lot of work, but the pork can be butterflied in advance and the spaetzle can be cooked in advance, just make sure to toss it with oil so that they don’t stick together. Once you’re ready to prepare the spaetzle, melt the butter, like the recipe says, and rewarm the spaetzle in the pan.
You can actually butterfly and bread the pork ahead of time if you freeze it on a sheet tray. It can be cooked directly from frozen, just adjust the oil temperature to 400 to compensate for the frozen pork cooling it down and maybe add an extra minute per side in cooking.
You can substitute thinly pounded out pork chops or pork loin cutlets in this recipe, or even thinly pounded chicken breast.
This sauce would also be excellent on chicken or fish.
You can substitute regular milk for the buttermilk.
You can cut this recipe in half, for just two people instead of four.