Ah, schnitzel: Can you think of another dish that boasts such a giggle-inducing name and requires you to pound it with a mallet before cooking?

We didn't think so.

Although most commonly associated with Germany and Austria, schnitzels — thin, boneless protein cutlets that are breaded and fried — span the globe.

Versions of it are eaten in Sweden and South Africa, Macedonia and Namibia. The dish is found throughout the Slavic countries. And while you won't find the citizens of Israel and Iran agreeing on much, schnitzels enjoy big followings in both nations.

New-school schnitzel: Chicken on onion waffles with apple slaw at Elway’s.
New-school schnitzel: Chicken on onion waffles with apple slaw at Elway's. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

Here in the United States, where they have long been staples in the German-American community, schnitzels are enjoying a bit of a star turn in a growing number of fine-dining establishments, due in part to the ongoing comfort-food revival.

Denver diners can find gussied-up versions at high-end restaurants such as Elway's Cherry Creek, Fruition and Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen. And, of course, at Old World bastions such as

Elway’s executive chef Tyler Wiard shows us the secret to crispy fried meat.
Elway's executive chef Tyler Wiard shows us the secret to crispy fried meat. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post )