An Indulgent, Crunchy and Molten-Cheese-Covered Chicken Delight

Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Andie McMahon.

The act of triple-dipping goes back to my early years. Three shallow bowls: one with flour, another with beaten egg, the third with breadcrumbs. It’s as familiar as the 1970s brown Formica kitchen counter and the avocado-green fridge doors, with their faux-wood handles that would inevitably be smudged with sticky flour paste as I reached for an extra egg or two.

I don’t recall the first time I made chicken schnitzel independently — without the watchful gaze of my mother or father — but I remember the sensation, the bowls and the sequence of dipping the chicken: first in the flour, shaking the excess, then in the eggs and finally in the breadcrumbs, trying to get as much to cling to the meat for full coverage and crunch. I can feel the sticky fingers, and despite the inconvenience at the time, it gives me comfort.

As in so many other Israeli households, chicken schnitzel was a firm regular in ours, an echo of my mother’s Central European heritage. Another was tomato sauce, made by my Italian father with fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil from the garden. Simmering away, it would always let you know it was there, with its unmistakable sweet smell and halo of red droplets from the simmering sauce drying on the white enamel stovetop.

Recipe: Halloumi Chicken Parmesan With Za’atar

Two everyday staples, and yet in our home they never met. The sauce was for pasta, heaped liberally with grated Parmesan; the schnitzel was served with lemon and occasionally capers, with potatoes alongside.

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