I’ve had a lot really good chicken schnitzelWhether in sandwiches, in restaurants or at recipe tastings – but I’ve also had a lot of disappointing ones. In my eyes, it’s shocking that after starting out with something incredibly lean like chicken breast, you can have something that’s so rich and heavy. Good chicken schnitzel should make me come back for a second, third, or even fourth serving without driving myself crazy or passed out.
For me, the way to make a great chicken schnitzel is to stay slim and light – and that was my goal here. To achieve this ease, I paired a simple panko crust with it will. Za’atar tastes light and spicy on its own, but frying these herbs and spices in oil takes this effect to a completely different level. The za’atar I made for this recipe is very heavy with sesame seeds, which creates that lovely crust on the schnitzel, with herbaceous floral notes from thyme and a good amount of astringency from sumac.
For the salad and the sauce, I’ve been thinking about different types of disorders that occur in food. Disturbances can be a bad thing, like burning or spoiling, or a taste that just tastes wrong. But interference can also be a very good thing. In this meal, the crispness and acidity of the cucumber and cabbage as well as the contrast to the sweet and creamy tahini dressing leave space so that every bite is a little different. If you put all of these components together in one bite, the result is something very tasty.
I’m not 100 percent sure I would call this a “recipe for the week,” but it’s not a project either. It’s kind of in between. What I know is I keep doing it and every time it’s tasty, disruptive, and light enough to keep coming back.