In Season Now … Polenta-crumbed Schnitzel With Red Radish And Carrot Salad

I was very excited preparing this meal and was really pleased with the results. Red radish is one of those winter vegetables I haven’t tried yet until last night. Truth be known, I didn’t know what to do with it. Thanks to the internet, millions of ideas are available on how to prepare and use radish in the culinary world. Polenta is another item I have not tried preparing and cooking myself. I have had it before and liked the texture and flavour. I was watching a food travel show on the telly the other night, which featured spices from Turkey, cumin being one of them. I love using cumin in Mexican dishes and curries but it didn’t cross my mind before to use it as a salad dressing ingredient. Another interesting ingredient I used is rosewater, which added a delicate flavour to the salad dressing. I have a bottle of rosewater in my pantry as I have been planning (for months now) to use it to make rosewater cream dessert. For now, rosewater goes with the salad.

This is a simple and easy to make dinner for two to four people. The polenta, a staple in the northern Italy, was used to crumb the chicken, which gave a lovely thick texture and hearty flavour to these schnitzels. The thinly sliced carrots and radish were beautifully dressed with lemon infused olive oil, rosewater, honey, dash of cumin, paprika and cinnamon, and garnished with fresh mint leaves. A very interesting exotic take on the traditional carrot salad.

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For the chicken schnitzels

  • 2 large breast fillets
  • 1 cup polents
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • vegetable oil, for shallow frying

For the red radish and carrot salad

  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 small bunch of red radish, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater essence
  • dash of ground cumin, mild paprika and cinnamon (adjust according to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves
  1. Slice each chicken breast into two thin portions to make four  schnitzel chicken pieces. Alternatively, place breast fillets in between baking paper sheets and with a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound chicken until about a centimetre thick. Cut each fillet in two, giving you four pieces of breast fillets to crumb.
  2. In a bowl, combine and whisk together the flour, eggs, milk and lemon juice. Place polenta in another bowl.
  3. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Coat chicken pieces, dipping first in egg mixture then in polenta.
  5. Shallow-fry chicken, in batches if necessary, until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper. 
  6. Meanwhile, except for radish, carrots and mint, whisk together the rest of salad ingredients in a small jug or bowl.
  7. Combine slices of carrots and radish in a salad bowl. Drizzle with salad dressing on top. Add torn mint leaves.
  8. Serve chicken schnitzel slices with red radish and carrot salad.

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