Friday, October 20, 2006

Schnitzel with watercress and spiced apple sauce

Hmm, schnitzel. I tend to associate Jamie with funky pasta dishes and vibrant herb-strewn Thai dishes, not with schnitzel, which to be honest somehow evokes school dinners for me. I hated school dinners with a passion I barely recognize now. I was an extremely picky child and I couldn't bear being forced to eat up mounds of lumpy mashed potato and gristly meat, not to mention the stodgy mass of rice pudding that came after. Apparently, I used to hide and cry before school, not to avoid school, but to avoid school dinners. In my defence, the whole dining room stank of over-boiled cabbage, and we were effectively force-fed - if you didn't clean your plate then scary dinner nannies would want to know why. I think. I stopped eating school dinners a year or two after I started school; I must have been six at the most, and I don't really remember, and I have probably demonized the whole experience in my head.

Anyway. Schnitzel. I have moved on from then but I don't recall ever eating schnitzel, never mind cooking it (although I have cooked food in breadcrumbs - mainly fishcakes). But the picture looked inviting and I thought I would give it a go. Basically, I seasoned and crumbed batted-down pork escalopes and fried them in olive oil; the crumbs didn't fall off as I had feared, and didn't even burn too much (OK so they did have teeny dark patches...). They were served with the spiced apple sauce, which was absolutely delicious - a mix of cooking and eating apples, cinnamon, orange juice and zest, sugar, nutmeg and cloves. They tasted like a non-alcoholic mulled wine and feel totally right for the autumn. The watercress I just washed and dried and tossed onto the plate with a squeeze of lemon.



It was delicious! I can feel myself becoming a convert to Schnitzel. I loved the tender meat inside the crunchy breadcrumbed exterior and the sweet, cinnamony hit of the apple sauce, against the bitter cool watercress. It is a dish of contrasts: soft and crunchy, sweet and bitter, and the combination is perfect. Another dish I feel myself returning to as the nights grow colder and darker...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mmmm I like the sound of that spiced apple sauce. My memories of school dinners do not differ much from your, although my nightmare inducing dish was Meat Loaf...

Rachelb

Anonymous said...

Oh, yum, schnitzel. Good job!