Friday, October 7, 2011

Israeli Schnitzel Sandwiches

Allow me to guide you through the assembly of a tasty sandwich! The highlights here are the two sauces, and it's always fresh (both in the "not-stale" and "sassy, in a gender-neutral sort of way" senses) to produce your own.

First things first, I marinated 12 chicken tenderloins in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. I covered the bowl and placed it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For the pesto, I first toasted three tablespoons of pine nuts in the oven. I preheated the oven to 400 and then spread the nuts onto a cookie sheet and let them bake for three minutes. I got to the store too late for fresh basil, so I was forced to substitute dried basil. The recipe called for 6.5 cups of packed basil leaves, which seems like an awwwwful lot. I opted to rely more on my sense of taste. I poured an inch or so of olive oil into the bottom of a cereal bowl, then I used about 8-10 tablespoons of dried basil. I'm not totally sure of the final amount. I just added the basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, salt and pepper to the food processor, ground it up, and then added a little more salt, basil, and garlic until the taste was where I wanted it.

For the chimichurri sauce, I roasted a red pepper--though on a second-go-round, I would use two. I always roast mine in the oven, but there are all sorts of methods you can find on the internet. I started off by halving, coring, and seeding the pepper, then I laid each half flat onto the baking sheet and pressed them down with the heel of my palm. I set my broiler to high and roasted the peppers until the skin began to blacken, about fifteen minutes. Afterwards I placed the peppers into a plastic bag and tied it tightly, letting them cool for ten minutes before chopping them up.

In my food processor, I combined 1/2 cup of olive oil, the roasted red peppers,distilled white vinegar, paprika (I couldn't find sweet paprika at the store, so I substituted, but I will be adding this to my stockpile soon), red wine vinegar, one teaspoon of dried oregano (a tablespoon if you're using fresh chopped herbs), red chile flakes, pepper, cumin, garlic, and parsley. The bowl was most definitely brimming at this point, but it ground down easily into a delicious, colorful chimichurri.

To prepare the chicken, I first made an egg wash with six beaten eggs. Then I filled another bowl with flour and another with 4 cups of breadcrumbs mixed with 1/2 a cup of chile flakes. I heated canola oil over medium -high heat in a large skillet. Then I dredged each tenderloin in flour, egg wash, then bread crumbs. I fried three or four tenderloins at a time.

They really just took four minutes until they were completely done. I then placed them onto paper towels to drain. Once the chicken was finished, I added half of the sliced onions to the remaining oil and let them cook for about 6-8 minutes, until caramelized.

For the ultimate assembly, I lined each foot-long baguette with three chicken tenderloins, followed by the sauces, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, and cooked onion. Close the baguette and enjoy! For best results, pair with napkins.

Israeli Schnitzel Sandwiches (adapted from

Pesto sauce:

6½ cups packed basil leaves (or 8-10 tbsps. dried)
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Red chimichurri sauce:
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup roughly chopped roasted red bell peppers
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
1½ tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. sweet paprika (or regular if you can't find sweet)
1 tbsp. finely chopped oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
1½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. ground cumin
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

3 cups flour
6 eggs, beaten
4 cups bread crumbs
½ cup crushed red chile flakes
12 ¼″-thick chicken tenderloins
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 12″ French baguettes, split 
4 cups loosely packed shredded romaine lettuce
2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced

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