Thursday, May 6, 2010

Panko Breaded Pork Cutlets, Spicy Orange Reduction

Panko is the shit when it comes to breading. You get a crisper, crunchier texture that is ideal for pork, shrimp, chicken, anything fried, really. AKA Japanese bread crumbs, you can find them in most big box chains, sometimes hidden in the Oriental aisle or whatever they call it.

Another reason to avoid, as much as possible, those giant chain grocery stores-with this country being so damn diverse these days, where in fact the Caucasian race is the minority in many urban environs, do we really need the Oriental aisle or the Latino aisle? Can't we just put food into the other categories that are already hanging from the ceiling, like soup, beans, cereal? Chips, crackers, bread? Why so difficult? Do they think we'd be forever hunting for miso or flour tortillas without the racial breakdown?

Normally I like my chops large, bone-in, brined, grilled or pan-fried and finished in the oven. When time does not allow, I'll skip the brining, but it does make a difference that you can taste and feel. Faced with even shorter time, there are the little boneless chops or these cutlets, which cook up real quick like.

Panko Breaded Pork Cutlets, Spicy Orange Reduction
2 servings

1/2 C Orange juice
1/4 t chili flakes
4 pork cutlets
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 C panko breadcrumbs

In a small saucepan, reduce the orange juice by half over medium-low heat, about 12-15 minutes or so. Add the chili flakes about halfway through.

Prepare a heavy skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat while the juice is reducing. Your protein, of course, has come to room temperature and is not right out of the fridge. Prep the usual three-station breading process- a shallow dish of seasoned flour, bowl with egg, and shallow dish with the breadcrumbs. Pie pans work fabulously easy for this task.

Season both sides of the pork with S&P, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then the egg, ensuring to let all the egg drip off, then coat in the panko, pressing on to adhere. To avoid both hands becoming a sticky, undefined mass of humanity, keep your hands on separate tasks- the hand with flour should not move past that step, the other hand does the egg and crumb.

Place cutlets in hot skillet, cook for about 2 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness.

Once the juice has reduced by about half, remove from heat and whisk in a pat of butter, season with a little salt and black pepper too if desired.

It's a 30-minute meal! And you can carry all the ingredients at once from the fridge! And you can have a special bowl on your counter to throw trash in! And you can have a lame-ass husband that doesn't know how to ride a motorcycle!

The orange reduction being mounted-

Yes, that is a technical term and yes, I still think it's funny.

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