Monday, January 5, 2009

Panko breaded pork with vinegared peppers and onions over butternut squash, parsnip, and carrot puree

I've been experimenting with root vegetable purees lately. Usually I do some combination of potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, carrots, parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas. Last night I decided to try combining butternut squash - I know, its not a root - with the carrots and parsnips that were sitting in my fridge. I won't go into the details of how I made it since I didn't really like it. The flavor combination just wasn't very good, so I won't make this combination again.

While the puree was a throw away, the rest of the dish was actually really good. I used some of the pork loin chops, onions, and bell peppers that were left over from when I made chili the day before. The thing the really makes this dish work are the panko bread crumbs, fennel pollen, caramelized onions, and good quality vinegar. Fennel pollen is not a common ingredient. If you live in Boston, you can get it at Formaggio. Otherwise, you can order it online. A little bit goes a long way and it is great on pork. This is the first time I've used it, and I'll try featuring it on more dishes in the near future.

  • Boneless pork loin chops, sliced thin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fennel pollen
  • Panko crumbs
  • flour
  • egg

  • (2 servings of peppers and onions)
  • 1 half white onion, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • 1 half red bell pepper, julliened
  • 1 T capers
  • 3 T red wine vinegar or a fairly tart balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T Marsala
  • 1 t sugar
Start by cooking the onions over moderate heat with a little oil and a pinch of salt. Let the onions cook down for at least 30 minutes. You want to watch the heat, keeping it low enough so the onions don't cook too fast. You want to caramelize them, not fry them, so if you hear the onions sizzling, the heat is probably too high. After 30 minutes, take the onions out, add a little more oil and cook the peppers over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Once the peppers begin to soften, return the onions to the pan along with the capers, vinegar, marsala, and sugar. Let this mixture simmer while you prepare the pork. If the liquid reduces to much, just add a splash of water to the pan.

To prepare the pork, start by pounding out the cutlets between sheets of plastic wrap until they are very thin. Sprinkly with salt, pepper, and a little bit of fennel pollen. Next, put together a breading station. You want to have flour for dredging on the first plate, a shallow bowl with an egg in the middle, and panko crumbs in the last plate. At the end of the line, place a wire rack or another plate for holding the completed pork. Once this is set up, just dredge the pork in flour, shake off the excess and dip it in the egg wash, then set it in the plate with the panko, pressing and turning to cover both sides. Let sit for a minute or two, then fry over medium high heat for a minute of two on each side. Since the pork cutlet is really thin, it should cook quickly.

Serve covered with the pepper and onion mix, and garnish with some nice, thick, sweet balsamic vinegar. This forms a nice contrast to the more tart vinegar that is used in the peppers and onions.

1 comment:

Diana said...

I love Panko! It's practically all I use for breading, it has such a great light crunch.