Elk Wiener Schnitzel with Lemon Caraway Aioli
Courtesy of Chef John McGannon, wildeats.com
Before I started WildEats, I was an ambitious young man from a New York suburb on the west shores of the Hudson River. I worked at local restaurants at a very young age and spent five years working under the detail‑oriented eye of Gunter Pindzig at his German restaurant.
We created many classic German dishes, which were all produced fresh daily. Being the competitive person I am, I always approached my tasks as a challenge. I worked side-by‑side with Gunter breaking down pieces of culinary potential. By the time I was 17, I could break down a leg of veal faster than my chef.
I’ve taken this skill into the field ever since. For this I am indebted to Chef Gunter for his guidance, patience and shared passion to produce a superior product regardless of the required effort. This dish is a tribute to him.
10, 3-to 4-oz. elk medallions* top round, top sirloin, tenderloin or backstrap, silver skin removed, cut across the grain
Standard breading procedure
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 cup flour
2 cups dried breadcrumbs
Peanut, canola or rice bran** oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste, or your favorite dry rub
Set up your breading procedure in appropriate mixing bowls, one for the flour, one for the egg whites and one for the breadcrumbs. I prefer just egg whites, as they are 100 percent protein and give you a very crisp breading. The yolks can be saved for a dipping aioli (sauce with garlic).
Gently pound the medallions to about ¼-inch thick. Season and dredge in the flour, then the egg whites and then the breadcrumbs. Place on a platter and refrigerate for at least an hour. This chills the meat down so when you fry it, it doesn’t overcook.
To fry the schnitzels, preheat the oil in a pan to 375°. Place the schnitzels in the hot oil and cook to golden brown. Turn and finish the other side. Remove the meat to a paper-lined tray until all schnitzels are finished. Serve with country potatoes or spaetzle (a German dumpling) and this refreshing lemon aioli with toasted caraway.
Lemon Caraway Aioli
3 egg yolks (room temperature)
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
1⁄2 tsp fresh garlic
1⁄2 tsp lightly toasted caraway seeds, ground fine
4 green onions, chopped fine
16 oz olive oil
Zest and juice of one lemon
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients except the oil and lemon juice in the mixing bowl of a food processor. With the motor running slowly, pour the oil into the processor. The sauce will begin to emulsify. Continue to add the oil until it is finished. Squeeze in the lemon juice, making sure to catch the seeds. Adjust the seasoning. If the sauce is too thick, add a few drops of water. This type of sauce will store for several weeks in the refrigerator and can be used on everything from sandwiches to grilled fish.
Be sure and allow the egg yolks to get to room temperature before making this sauce. This ensures a strong emulsion. Prost!
* Medallions refer to a round cut of meat that is roughly ½-inch thick and 2-3 inches in diameter.
** Rice bran oil is extracted from the husks of rice grains. It has a very high smoking point, no flavor and no cholesterol. It’s relatively new in this country, but has been a staple in Japan for a long time due to its purity and nutritional advantages. You can find it in specialty foods stores and many healthfood stores.
John McGannon is a RMEF life member, host of wild game cooking seminars at Elk Camp and owner of WildEats Enterprises.