This is one of those Germanic dishes that’s been intimately tied to German cuisine. Indeed, Americans are more familiar with the German name of the recipe, Wiener Schnitzel, than with its English name.
Note: The best veal cutlets come from the round muscle of the leg, sliced at a slight angle across the grain, with connective tissues removed and any membranes removed or at least scored to prevent the cutlet from curling while cooking. Other cuts of veal can supply this recipe, too, as long as they can be trimmed in similar fashion and they can take the pounding needed to flatten them out and tenderize them.
Place cutlets between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound cutlets to 1/8-inch thickness, with a sliding action instead of a straight up-and-down motion, turning cutlets once. Sprinkle tenderized cutlets lightly with salt and pepper. Spread flour in a shallow dish. Place beaten eggs in a shallow bowl and bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Dip both sides of a cutlet in flour, so sides are evenly coated. Dip floured cutlet in beaten egg. Let excess egg drip from cutlet, then dip both sides of cutlet in bread crumbs, pressing bread crumbs evenly onto cutlet. Repeat breading process with remaining cutlets. Place breaded cutlets on a wire rack; let stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C). Heat 2 Tbsp oil, butter or margarine, or a combination thereof in a large skillet over medium heat. Add several breaded cutlets; do not crowd pan. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until both sides are golden brown.
Place cooked cutlets on an ovenproof platter or pan; keep hot in oven while cooking remaining cutlets. Repeat process with remaining breaded cutlets, adding oil, butter or margarine to skillet as needed. Do not cover the cooked cutlets in the oven, or their crispy coatings will soften. Serve hot.
Variations: Schnitzel á la Holstein: Place a fried egg on top of each cutlet and lay 2 anchovy fillets in the shape of a cross over each egg. Add 5 or 6 well-drained capers near each pair of anchovies. Serve hot.
Cheese Schnitzel: Bread cutlets with a mixture of 1 cup bread crumbs and 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese instead of 2 cups bread crumbs. While cutlets are cooking on second side in skillet, place 1 thin slice of Emmentaler cheese over top of each cutlet, then sprinkle a little chopped fresh parsley or ground sweet paprika over cheese. Serve hot, when cheese melts.