Can You Fry Schnitzel in Olive Oil?
Schnitzel, a popular dish in Austria, has made its way across the world and is now enjoyed by many. The dish is traditionally made using veal or pork that is pounded thin, coated with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs before being fried in oil. However, with the increasing popularity of using healthy oils for frying, people are now asking whether it is possible to fry schnitzel in olive oil. In this article, we will delve deeper into understanding the different types of oils, the health benefits and risks of olive oil, why it can be used to fry schnitzel, alternative cooking methods, steps to fry a schnitzel in olive oil, tips for perfectly fried schnitzel in olive oil and some FAQs about frying schnitzels in olive oil.
Understanding Different Types of Oils
Before examining whether it is possible to use olive oil to fry schnitzel, it is essential to understand the different types of cooking oils that are available. There are various types; each comes with its unique set of properties that make it ideal for specific cooking methods.
The two most common oils used in frying are vegetable and animal-based oils. Vegetable oils such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, canola oil and palm kernel oil come from seeds while animal-based oils such as lard come from animal fat.
All these oils have different smoking points- the temperature at which they break down and release harmful byproducts that affect their quality and perhaps even health.
For instance, olive oil has a low smoking point compared to other oils like soybean or canola oil. That means it breaks down at lower temperatures than these more stable counterparts. When developing an understanding of whether you can fry schnitzels in olive oil, this is an important point to consider.
Health Benefits and Risks of Olive Oil
Olive oil is among the healthiest oils, given its rich nutritional values, particularly when consumed in moderation. Polyphenols, antioxidants found in olive oil, play an integral role in reducing inflammation and thus lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Additionally, moderate consumption of olive oil may reduce cholesterol levels as it contains monounsaturated fats that are beneficial to the body. According to a study published by David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, reducing saturated fat intake by consuming olive oil can benefit health as it helps improve overall blood lipid profiles wherever it replaces less healthy oils/fats.
However, excessive consumption of olive oil might lead to some health issues. Considering that olive oil is high in calories and fat content; overconsumption raises the risk for obesity. Moreover, a recent report from EFSA warns that men over 40 and women over 50 years who consume more than one tablespoon daily might experience mild nausea, diarrhea or abdominal discomfort.
Why Use Olive Oil to Fry Schnitzel?
Despite olive oil’s low smoking point compared to other frying oils like peanut or vegetable oil with high smoke points (400-450F), it offers fantastic flavor characteristics when used for frying schnitzels. Compared to other oils with neutral flavors like sunflower or rapeseed oils used for deep frying that deliver crisply fried meat without adding any additional taste profiles or nuances, frying with extra virgin olive oil brings additional flavor that blends harmoniously into various dishes.
Schnitzel requires a shallow fry to crisp up the crust without making the meat dry while using oils with neutral flavors tend to produce unremarkable results. olive oil, on the other hand, imparts fruity, nutty and sometimes grassy flavors that make the schnitzel taste even better.
While many believe that olive oil should not be used due to its low smoking point coupled with its high cost compared to other available frying oils, its amazing flavor profile, health benefits attributes to dip it for frying Schnitzel. Extra virgin olive oil has the most flavors as it comes from the first cold pressing of the olives.
Alternative Cooking Methods for Schnitzel
While frying is the most popular method for preparing schnitzel, there are alternative cooking methods that can be used instead of deep-frying in oil. These include:
- Baking: Preheat the oven to 375-400F and place a rack inside a baking sheet. Place the breaded schnitzel on the rack and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
- Grilling: You can also grill or barbecue the schnitzels over medium-high heat until they are cooked through and golden brown.
- Air Frying: This is a healthier alternative to deep-frying where you can spray oil over breaded schnitzels before placing them in an air fryer. Given that air fryers use convection to cook food, they eliminate the need for cooking oil consumption, providing a healthier fried schnitzel.
Steps to Fry a Schnitzel in Olive Oil
Breaded schnitzel fries up perfectly in hot extra-virgin olive oil that has heated up gently over medium heat. Below are steps on how to fry schnitzel using olive oil:
Step 1: Pound your meat thin then season both sides with salt and a sprinkle of paprika (optional)
Step 2: Line up three shallow plates bowls or dishes in a row or use zipper bags. Place flour on the first one, whisk eggs and milk together on another plate while putting seasoned breadcrumbs on the third plate.
Step 3: Dredge your meat slices in the flour, then dip them in the egg mixture, leaving a bit of space around each slice for crispness. Finally, place them in the breadcrumb mixture and coat well, again giving a bit of space around each piece for even browning.
Step 4: Pour olive oil to cover about half of the thickness of your meat slices in a shallow pan over medium heat and wait for it to reach a temperature of 350-360F.
Step 5: Once you have preheated your oil, lay one breaded schnitzel in your heated oil. Allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes depending on size or until golden brown underside then turn over with a spatula and cook another minute or so until done.
Tips for Perfectly Fried Schnitzel in Olive Oil
Here are some suggestions for making sure that your fried schnitzel turns out perfectly using olive oil:
- The ideal frying temperature should be maintained at 350-375 F.
- Resist oversalting when seasoning as too much salt will make your meat tough and chewy while under-salting deprives it from flavor
- Pan shouldn’t be overcrowded as this significantly reduces heat distribution across meat surfaces.
- Gently release air bubbles that form between meat surfaces by poking them with the non-stick spatula’s teeth—this heightens even browning on all surfaces.
- After-frying, transfer your crispy schnitzel on paper towels to drain any excess oil, then place them in a warm oven to keep them crunchy while cooking the rest.
FAQs about Frying Schnitzels in Olive Oil
Here are some of the commonly asked questions regarding frying schnitzels using olive oil:
Q: Can alternative types of schnitzels be fried in olive oil?
A: Yes! You are not limited to pork or veal schnitzels when it comes to frying in olive oil you can also fry turkey, chicken or plant-based schnitzels.
Q: How does the taste differ from traditional Austrian-style schnitzels?
A: Austria’s style is a golden favorite Schnitzel version that preserves its mild flavor following a blend of fresh breadcrumbs with flour and egg-wash. When you fry a Schnitzel using Olive oil, the final result carries an added depth of fruity and nutty flavors unique from other frying oils, which make the dish even more enticing.
If you’re looking for healthy oils that can still produce delicious tasting schnitzel, then olive oil is one you should consider using for frying or air-frying. Despite its low smoking point and a bit higher price point than other common frying oils, it remains a versatile option that offers impressive health benefits coupled with fantastic flavor characteristics to this iconic dish.
In summary: Olive oil is a multi-talented ingredient where cooking schnitzel is concerned; plus, it allows for substitutions in other dishes without sacrificing taste. However, use it sparingly as with all oils with the simple rule of consuming smaller amounts at a time.
Can olive oil be used to fry schnitzel?
Absolutely! Olive oil is a great option for frying schnitzel. It has a high smoke point, which means it can handle the heat necessary for frying without burning or smoking excessively.
Does fried schnitzel in olive oil taste different?
Fried schnitzel in olive oil may have a slightly different taste due to the unique flavor profile of the oil. However, it still tastes delicious and retains the crispy texture expected from a perfectly fried schnitzel.
Is olive oil a healthy alternative for frying schnitzel?
Yes, olive oil is an excellent healthy alternative to traditional vegetable oils like canola or corn oil. It contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that promote good health.
Are there any downsides to frying schnitzel in olive oil?
The only potential downside of frying schnitzel in olive oil is that it can be more expensive than other types of cooking oils. But with its health benefits and excellent taste, the extra cost may well be worth it.