Nothing says ‘pub lunch’ (or ‘pub dinner’) like a schnitzel. The whole time I was in the UK I tried to explain the idea of a ‘parmi’ and failed miserably.
It’s also a dish which is ridiculously easy to put together at home. Invariably you can produce something tastier, not to mention healthier, than that for which you’ll pay the best of $20 for in a pub. Pub parmis usually have a remarkably similar lifecycle – one that involves the freezer and the deep fat fryer.
For an ‘at home’ parmi you don’t need anything more exotic than a frying pan.
First, choose your meat. A chicken breast is very easy – one will do two people and you just need to slice it in half horizontally. If you want to use pork or beef choose a cut which generally cooks quickly and flatten it out by wrapping in cling film and beating with a rolling pin (or meat mallet).
Dip your meat in egg followed by breadcrumbs and quickly fry it in a pan of hot oil (something like peanut oil, which has a high smoking point and is almost flavourless). The meat needs to be thin enough so it cooks quickly and you want your breadcrumbs to turn golden but not burn!
Set the meat aside (on some kitchen towel to soak up any excess fat) and prepare your topping. You’ll definitely need mozzarella cheese. If you want to go the really simple route, then top your meat with a slice of ham followed by the cheese. For Hawaiian then you’ll need thin slices of pineapple (if you’re using tinned make sure you use pineapple in its own juice, rather than in syrup … you’re not making a dessert!) in addition to your ham and cheese. A simple tomato sauce will do your basic ‘parmagiana’ , or you can go all out and have a Bolognese style sauce. Think of it in the same way you’d think of pizza toppings.
When you’re done, top with the mozzarella cheese and finish under a hot grill – the cheese should be melted, bubbling and going brown. I think in this case I wasn’t quite generous enough with the cheese – make sure you don’t make the same mistake!
Serve with a salad and you can pretend it’s healthy!