Some of my bloke friends are man grommets [like little grommets but man sized]. They love surfing, looking for surf, food and girls (and think about things in that order). Other than the perfect tube, the way to a man grommet’s heart is through his stomach. Probably like a lot of men really.

Bondi sunrise

Bondi = man grommet turf.

hunting for surf

Here’s some man grommets sniffing out surf – and eating at the same time. And probably talking about chicks.

So when the surf gets big, it’s time to start preparing chicken schnitzel in army-like quantities. In Sydney there’s an institution called Una’s (been in business since the 60′s as a German-Austrian-Swiss style restaurant), which will produce a quality schnitzel every time. However I haven’t been since my gluten days, and so you’d need to check prior to going whether they’d be able to whip up a gluten free version.

Homemade schnitz is unbeatable in my book. Back in my days of yore (pre-kids and pre-bloke) No Names at the Beach Road in Bondi was the go for a [very] large and cheap schnitzel. Man grommets in their masses would descend here on a Wednesday night, to feed up big on the COMBO – a massive flat chicken schnitz with plastic cheese and bottled tomato sauce on top WITH a side of spag bog. It was quite a sight to watch the consumption of one of these. Not many could manage it. Swilled down with beer, you could probably survive for a whole week after eating it. Roll forward to 2011 and whilst No Names is goneski, the Bistro at the Beach Road does great food and still offers a schnitzel according to the menu (again check the gluten freeness before going – I haven’t tried this one).

This version is slightly more gourmet – some could argue it lacks primal appeal of the No Names version – but in my opinion it’s superior – and opens up a wider target market that includes chicks and kids.

Quantities are a little vague – as it depends on the number of man grommets and how good the surf was.


The Schnitz

1 chicken breast per person (I don’t worry about bashing it flat)
Lemon zest (a Microplane grater is handy for this) – at least one lemon’s worth
Chopped garlic (around 2 cloves)
Salt & pepper
Good handful chopped parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
Breadcrumbs (I use Norganics cornflakes all crushed up)
Egg beaten

The Spag Sauce

Spaghetti (I use San Remo brand)
Fresh tomatoes (heaps)
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
Tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
2 sticks of celery, diced
Salt & pepper
Bit of sugar
Splash of red wine
1 onion diced
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh parsley
Dried oregano

Parmesan (to serve)

What to do

Prepare the chicken: mix the chopped parsley, garlic, lemon zest, salt & pepper, olive oil (1 tblsp or so) with breadcrumbs. This is the coating for the chicken. Get the chicken breasts and dunk into the beaten egg mixture. Then roll them in the breadcrumby mixture and make sure there’s heaps of it on the chook.

Put these aside, or start pan frying them in olive oil. They normally take a while to cook – about 15 – 20 minutes.

Make the sauce: fry the onions, celery and garlic in some olive oil. Add the bay leaf and oregano. Add the chopped real tomatoes, then add the tin, then some tomato paste. Bring to the boil and then let thicken up for ages. Sometimes I add leftover red wine to the mix. Keep bubbling away. Just add either red wine or water if it gets too dry.

Boil the spag and when cooked, add to the sauce and make sure it’s all combined.

man grommets

Some hungry man grommets. Finished surfing. Waiting for food.

To serve: when all the man grommets are assembled at the table, and they have praised you enough for being a sublime surf food goddess, serve it up. Pretty simple really – 1 mudflap with a pile of spaghetti next to it. Add some parmesan to the spag, open a bottle of red (or beeeer) and pig out. The girl version includes a green side salad of iceberg lettuce. For the kid version – just make little schnitz’s.