In Praise of the Schnitzel Sandwich
The cuisine of Central Europe doesn’t always get the praise it deserves, so today we want to heap upon one of its sandwiches, which ranks up there with the world’s best: the schnitzel sandwich, or schnitzelwich, if you will. Schnitzel itself—a thin meat cutlet of pork, veal or chicken breaded and fried—is popular throughout Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and beyond. Slim and uniformly fried, it's ideal for stacking between bread.
The filling. The best schnitzel is fresh schnitzel, piping hot, golden brown and crisp all over. From that simple base, any number of additions are fair game, from a simple swipe of mayo to red pepper spreads, caramelized onions, you name it.
The bread. Anything soft and squishy that lets you chomp through a schnitzelwich in a single bite.
Where to get it:
Edi & the Wolf, New York City. A sophisticated take on this everyman's sandwich, this Austrian tavern's version layers pork schnitzel (made from heritage pork) with avocado, arugula and tomato confit along with lemon aioli, all cradled by a pretzel bun or brioche—and if that doesn't sound indulgent enough, a fried egg on top.
Tábor, Portland, OR. This Czech food cart is a Portland favorite for one major reason: the Schnitzelwich—either pork or chicken schnitzel stuffed into a chewy ciabatta roll with paprika spread, horseradish and sautéed onions.
Olga's Delicatessen, Chicago. Most sandwiches are wider than they are tall; not Olga's chicken schnitzel sandwich, piled up so high you'd have to unhinge your jaw to get in a top-to-bottom bite. But the crisp-fried chicken is sufficiently juicy and well-seasoned that a little mayo is the only adornment it needs.