I have been working in Switzerland for two and half years now and despite my best intentions, until this week I had never visited Zürich – the closest I had come was driving around the outskirts on my way to Austria one time.
I’ve managed to fix all that in the past week by visiting not once but twice! Both trips were flying day visits of only a couple of hours ach with absolutely no time to see the sights or experience anything of the culture or cuisine on the first trip and only time to wolf down some (delicious!) currywurst and glimpse the lake on the second, but hey; at least I actually made it into the city!
As I didn’t actually get to sample it when I was there, I thought I cook myself the traditional dish of Zürich Geschnetzeltes (or Émincé de Veau Zurichoise if you prefer) at home to celebrate finally making it to Zürich.
A long long time ago (or so it seems,) in anticipation of the move out here, I decided to cook a Swiss themed meal for some friends. My original plan was to have Zürich Geschnetzeltes as the main course, however after searching high and low, in supermarkets and butchers, it turned out it was impossible to find veal for sale and so I had to settle for the rather less authentically traditional (but much more cheesy ;-))option of a fondue.
However there is no such problem over here on the continent, since moving out I have enjoyed many a veal escalope, it was easy to get hold of some for this traditional Swiss dish. I scouted around the internet to compare recipes from various sources and to my surprise I found out that the mushrooms are a modern addition to the mix. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it made or advertised without them so there was no way I was going to leave them out of mine, no matter how traditional!
Picking my favourite bits of the recipes I saw I opted to use shallots rather than white onion as I think the sweetness goes really well with cream. I also choose to leave out the paprika that some recipes included and tried to stick to just the basic flavours. A couple of recipes I found called for the addition of cornstarch to the sauce, but I found the residual flour from frying the veal thickens things just fine. The recipe I used to make my take on Zürich Geschnetzeltes can be found here.
On my way back from Zürich the second time I also got to something else I had been meaning to do for a long time – eat in the dining car on the train. It was brilliant. After a long day and a three hour exam I was able to relax on my own table with a large plate of Swiss cheese and a delicious Valais Pinot Noir. There was something wonderfully timeless and elegant about the spending the return journey in the dining car, I felt like I was in a movie or some great romantic novel. I can’t wait to do it again.