Sure as Schnit

Revamped schnitzels go on the fry

Schnitzel has come a long fried way from the bland breaded meat served over noodles and sung about in The Sound of Music.

Though Austrian by origin, this hallmark dish has become a platform for chefs, who are using it to anchor their experimental whimsy. Traditional veal and chicken cutlets have even made way for unconventional proteins, giving schnitzel a newfound life.

In a converted gas station near Fenway Park in Boston, Citizen Public House uses the classic breading technique on braised pig trotters. Chef Brian Reyelt slow-roasts the meat with rosemary, then forms rectangular patties that he pan-sears to order and serves with a warm potato-bacon salad.

At Washington D.C.'s Ardeo + Bardeo, chef Nate Garyantes creates a scallop schnitzel inspired by his German grandmother and her black walnut tree. Thinly sliced scallops are breaded, then crisped in olive oil and butter. Their buttery flavor is augmented with a salad of micro cabbage, apple, poached bay scallops and toasted walnuts (click here to download the recipe).

Son of a Gun–the new sister restaurant to Los Angeles's Animal–takes the schnitzel tack to alligator meat. Mellow in flavor with a texture like white fish, the reptile comes with a sweet salad of citrus and mint to balance the breaded meat.

So next time you're faced with an indie cut of protein, look no further than your breadcrumbs for inspiration.