I’m a huge fan of crispy, fried…anything. Who isn’t. Fried is the king of all textures in my book. But, I’m not often up for deep frying at home. First, there’s the mess. Oil splatters everywhere! And then, the smell. Oil-fried is a smell that lingers in the house for hours if not days.
And you need a whole lot of oil which I don’t always have on hand. And then you need to figure out what to do with a bunch of used oil!
Finally, there’s my health to consider. While I don’t think occasional fried food is bad, I probably don’t need to be eating in my regular rotation. But that texture!
That texture is why I like to say hello to oven frying. After breading food in a standard breading procedure (that’s a thing! Culinary school, ftw!), simply turn your oven up high, place your breaded food on a lightly oiled rack, and let her rip. After a relatively short stint in the oven, you’ll have texture for days. This is actually basically what those very popular air fryers are doing with the addition of some extra air circulation; but honestly, you don’t need it or an extra appliance on your counter top.
♥ Related: Crispy Baked Eggplant
Is it an exact replacement for frying? No. But it’s pretty darn close and a lot easier and cleaner than the alternative. Plus, I like that it’s hands off once you get the food in the oven. There’s no babysitting a vat of oil while also trying to stay away from splattering hot oil.
Oven Frying, Meet Pork Schnitzel
Pork schnitzel is one of my favorite foods to oven fry. Pounding pork cutlets really thin makes them cook in no time and gives them the perfect juicy meat to crispy crust ratio. Have them, as pictured, as a traditional dinner: meat plus two sides. Or get creative and pile onto a sandwich with your favorite toppings! Either way you can’t go wrong!
Oven-fried Pork Schnitzel
- 4 boneless pork loin chops about 4 oz each
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder or paprika
- 2 eggs whisked
- 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- One at a time, place each pork chop in between two layers of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to pound the pork chops so that they are about 1/4 inch thick.
- Set up a breading station by combining the flour and spices in a shallow pan, the whisked eggs in another shallow pan, and the bread crumbs in a third shallow pan. I like to use my round cake pans.
- Dip each piece of pork into the flour so it’s well coated on each side — shaking off the excess. Then dip into the egg mixture to cover each. Finally dip into the bread crumbs to cover each side. Place breaded pork onto a lightly oiled wire rack over a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Flip and bake for another 5 minutes.
Things you might want for this recipe:
Cake Pans: I like these inexpensive 8-inch cake pans to set up my standard breading station. They are wide enough for most food and have high sides to help me keep my counter clean during the process. Plus they are multi-taskers because, well. Cake. I own three of these.
Meat Mallet: You will need the right tool for pounding your meat thin. A meat mallet will do the trick. For this recipe, you’ll use the smooth side; but if you are hammering tougher cuts, the tenderizer side will be your pal.
Sheet Pans: Most likely you have plenty of cookie sheets, but I swear by these basic aluminum sheet pans. They are inexpensive and lightweight. And I like that they have a fairly high lip so they are useful for baking cookies OR roasting juicier items (no dripping onto your oven floor!) These are very standard professional kitchen items, but also super helpful in the home kitchen.
Sheet Pan Racks: A rack to place in your sheet pan during cooking time is a MUST for oven frying. Keeping the food off of the bottom of the sheet pan allows air to circulate all around the food so there isn’t a soggy bottom. These racks are also awesome for cooling baked goods, especially big batches of cookies! A couple of sheet pan racks are far cheaper than one air fryer and won’t take up all of your counter space.
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