Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Panko & Pork Paired Up

Good evening everyone! It’s an unseasonably warm here in the Des Moines metro, not that we’re complaining, but it’s odd to see the temp hit 86 degrees in October. Knowing the weather patterns of the Midwest, we’ll have 3 inches of snow by this time next week. (I’m kidding…sort of). We’re in a pattern of our own around the blog. Maggie started us off by taking a trip back to one of her old favorites – pasta. I’m continuing this pattern by returning to one of my favorites – breading.

Breading tonight brought to you by Panko 

If you’re a long time reader of the blog, you’ll likely remember that there was a point of time early in the blog’s first days, that breading was something we couldn’t quite figure out. A few of the recipes even turned out…well…badly. After trying multiple techniques, we finally found a sweet spot and now breading has become one of my favorite kitchen tools. Tonight, I’m taking my favorite cooking process to a new ingredient – pork. I’ve never tried breading pork before, but I’m hoping the tried and true techniques I’ve used for chicken and fish will impart the same great flavor on the other white meat.

The Recipe: Crispy Breaded Pork Chops with Parsley Caper Sauce
Original Recipe Found In: Cook’s Country Magazine

What You’ll Need:
Serves 4

1 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
½ Cup Drained Capers
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 ½ Cups Olive Oil
½ Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Large Eggs
2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
8 Boneless Pork Chops (3 to 4 ounces)

Since this recipe serves four, you may want to adjust the quantities you are working with for ingredients. If you’re cutting the recipe in half – you won’t need to preheat an oven to keep the finished chops warm. If you’re making more than four chops, however, you will want to begin by preheating your oven to 200 degrees.

Next, place the parsley, capers and lemon juice in a small blender / food processor. Mince the ingredients with 2 or 3 – 1 second pulses to break down the parsley and begin to mix the lemon juice and capers. Next, slowly add the oil to the processor (while the processor is running if your machine is capable of doing so) and blend for 5 to 10 seconds or until the mixture is fully combined and smooth. Transfer this mixture to a serving bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Next, arrange three shallow dishes in a row (assembly line style – much like our previous breading recipes). In the first dish, add the flour. In the second add the eggs and beat them lightly. Finally, in the third dish, add the bread crumbs.

Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel – much like fish; if you have any moisture on left on a pork chop the breading will fall off in the pan. Take the extra few minutes to prevent problems when the food hits the pan. Season the newly dried chops lightly with salt and pepper.

Working one at a time, dip a chop into the flour mixture and allow an excess to fall off. Next, carefully dip the chop into the egg mixture (don’t over saturate the chops – they don’t have to be soaked) allow excess egg mixture to drip off. Finally, press the chops into the bread crumbs making sure they are completely covered and evenly breaded. Repeat this process until all of the pork chops have been breaded.

In a medium skillet (preferably one with high sides and a lid) add ½ cup of the oil and heat until shimmering and just before the smoke point has been reached. Add half of the chops to the skillet and cook until crispy and golden brown (roughly 3 to 5 minutes per side) transfer the completed chops to a baking sheet and store them in your 200 degree oven to keep warm. I point out that a high side skillet and lid are nice additions because once the oil reaches the shimmering heat and you add the chops, you’re likely going to see a lot of splatter. Since second degree oil burns are not fun for anyone, I’d suggest sticking a lid on the skillet while you cook the chops. Repeat the process on the remaining chops. Serve with the sauce and enjoy!

The Results:

Oh breading, how great of a kitchen technique you are! Adding a basic breading – flour, egg, bread crumbs imparts such a great flavor to a simple dish. The crispy breading adds a great crunch and texture to the chops. The caper parsley sauce - well, I wasn't a fan. The capers added almost too much of a tang to the dish and didn't really 'gel' with the pork chops. Overall I found the dish underwhelming but not without promise. Since the breading is the strength of the dish - I feel that maybe some shallots or even parsley worked into the breading would greatly enhance the flavor. As it stands, this is not a bad dish - but it certainly can be improved. It's disappointing to see an American Test Kitchen dish that essentially 'phones it in' and ends up being simply 'okay'.

That’s all we have for you this week. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our cooking explorations for another week. We’ve got some interesting dishes lined up for the coming week – and as always Monday will get us started with another trip Around the Culinary World. Enjoy the rest of the week everyone! Until next time,


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