The secret ingredient for the best schnitzel

by Chaya Rappoport

This article originally appeared on The Nosher.

If you love pickles, you might often be left with jars and jars of leftover pickle juice. Before you throw out that brine, there’s actually so many ways to use it.

And while you can definitely make a good briny cocktail with that leftover liquid, my favorite way to use pickle juice is actually to brine chicken in it. The acid in the juice helps tenderize and moisten the chicken (it’s especially great for white meat), plus the pickle juice flavors and infuses the chicken with its characteristic brininess. It isn’t overpowering in the least — here it lends a light vinegary undertone to the schnitzels that keep you guessing and wanting more.

Make sure you brine the schnitzel the night before you plan to make it, or at least several hours in advance, so the chicken has time to soften and absorb the flavors of the brine. And don’t forget to serve it with hot sauce, honey and, of course, more pickles.

For the brine:
1/2 cup pickle juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup fresh dill leaves

For the schnitzel:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ¼ thickness
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
2 large eggs
2 cups cornflake crumbs
Canola oil, for frying
Pickles, hot sauce and honey for serving

1. Make the brine: Combine the brine ingredients in a bowl, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the brine into a large container, add the chicken breasts, and cover with enough water to ensure the chicken is completely covered. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours, or overnight.

2. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse under cool water to remove any brine particles clinging to it. Pat dry with paper towels.

3. Next, set up your breading station: Beat eggs in a shallow bowl. Place the flour in another shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place the cornflake crumbs in a third bowl.

4. Line a plate with parchment. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly; carefully coat with cornflake crumbs, pressing the crumbs to adhere them to the chicken. Transfer chicken to parchment lined plate.

5. Add 1/4 inch canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 chicken breasts to skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken breasts to a paper towel-lined plate and season with additional sprinkle of salt while still hot. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

6. Serve hot with pickles, hot sauce, and spicy honey if desired. Serves 4-6.

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