30 March 2010

Quick hit: Schnitzel und Spätzle

Just a quick one before I pass out...

At the local marché's butcher stand yesterday, we came across some fantastic looking veal and asked for two escalopes. Once again, as though thinking in unison, Alannah and I had the same thing in mind: Schnitzel.

Now before you go on about how cruel veal is, there are two kinds of veal. The traditional "white" veal, which is milk or – worse yet – formula fed and kept in tiny pens, and then there's "pink" or rosé veal, which is naturally, normally, humanely raised veal. The calf is allowed to pasture and forage for itself, have – depending on the farm – room to roam, and its existence is no more cruel than that of other animals raised for meat.  (If that in and of itself is a concern for you, there are plenty of wonderful vegetarian and vegan blogs that-a-way --> )

Anyway, back to the food...

Schnitzel mit Spätzle und Pilzen
Schnitzel: A slice of rosé veal breaded in panko and standard bread crumbs, fried for approximately three minutes a side over medium-high heat (for a truly rosé interior).

Sage Spätzle: Standard spätzle dough with eggs, milk, salt and flour, with the addition of finely chopped sage and mustard. Alannah had pressed the dough through a collander with a spatula into a pot of boiling water, and before serving sautéed it in browned butter and more sage.

Mushroom sauce: Sliced and sautéed mushrooms, reduced in Porto Branco (white port wine). Thickened with the cheat addition of leftover brown gravy from last night's Loco Moco.

Mock Sauerkraut: Barely in the picture is my quick mock sauerkraut. Real sauerkraut takes days to make, as the cabbage needs to ferment. So I steamed finely sliced savoy cabbage with salt and cider vinegar, and then put it into a fan of sweet onions softened in a spoonful of... lard. Cinnamon and caraway seeds lent it a bit of that Central European flavor. Simmered in more Porto Branco.

As is a common theme around here, German food, despite being from a neighboring country, is very hard to come by in Paris. Our new favorite place to have a nooner or late afternoon quickie, Tante Emma Laden, isn't open at night, and the only other Teutonic resto/bakery/shop in town, the Austro-Hungarian Stübli, recently closed its doors. And we always crave what we can't get.

Continuing the theme, our dessert was something else you can't regularly get when you go out in Paris: A shot of Fernet-Branca with a ginger ale back. Ok, multiple shots. This particular combination is rather uniquely San Franciscan, but with both Fernet and ginger ale becoming much more common on store shelves in the City of Light, we're going to try to bring this eater's drink into style.

Fernet, being a digestif, is wonderful for its intended effect. It's brilliant after a heavy meal. Taken in chilled shots with gulps of ginger ale, it also has the magical ability to get you fired up and drunk at the same time. *hiccup*


  1. Palio d'Asti in the FiDi, which has a special where you get a pizza/flatbread for every two drinks you order. One of their drinks is a shot of fernet and a negroni. It's wonderful. I normally have two and a pizza and call it a night :)

  2. Making mental note for the next trip back to SF... so many new places since we left, so little time!