Posts Tagged ‘Parmesan’

Herb and Parmesan Crusted Pork

January 7, 2009

Most of the time, I want food that is warm and filling: comfort food.  And sometimes it’s hard to find comfort food that doesn’t take all day to prepare (have you ever made fried chicken?  All. Day.) and is moderately healthy.  Enter the other white meat: pork.  When eaten as a chop (get the boneless chop, butterflied if you aren’t a big meat eater, and split it apart so it gives you 2 thin chops) and trimmed of the side of fat, it’s lean and delicious.

I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this on Everyday Italian (and may I just take a moment to say that I heart Giada…the woman who showed me that Italian food is not just pasta and red sauce) and it has become one of my “signature” dishes.  I like it because it’s easy but impressive for guests (I have a good friend who is a restaurant manager and asked me for the recipe because he liked it so much),  relatively cheap to make, and DELICIOUS!  What more could you want?

Herb and Parmesan Crusted Pork

Ingredients:

  • Pork chops, boneless.  I trim the fat off the side to make it healthier and so you don’t get that wad of gristle.  Because, gross.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese.  You don’t have to get fancy – the stuff in the green plastic can will work best, actually.
  • Italian breadcrumbs.  Natch.
  • 1 egg, beaten.  My health and time trick?  Egg Beaters.  Use them, they’re awesome.
  • Olive oil and vegetable oil.  You’ll be combining these in the pan to cook the pork.  Olive oil alone will “burn off” faster, so the veggie oil offsets this and keeps the smoke alarm from going off.  I learned this the hard way.  You’ll need quite a bit of oil – if you’re trying to use your last tablespoon, it ain’t gonna cut it.

First things first: heat that pan!  Combine your 2 oils until its completely covering the bottom of the pan in a thick layer.  Heat the pan to medium-high.  When the oil starts to look really liquidy/glassy, it’s ready.

I like to get everything lined up assembly line style: pork on one plate, egg in a shallow bowl, and the Parmesan and breadcrumbs combined in a 1/3 Parm, 2/3 breadcrumb ratio mixture.  This isn’t an exact science, so you’ve got plenty of room to fudge and it’ll still taste great! 

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Prepare your pork by dipping it first in the egg to coat, then into the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture, turning to coat evenly.

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When the oil is hot, place the chops in the pan.  Be careful!  The oil is hot, and this sucker is going to splatter while it cooks.  Have tongs at the ready.  Cook on the first side about 5 minutes for a thick chop, about 3-4 minutes for half of a butterflied chop.  Carefully flip and cook for another 5 minutes or so.  You want the color to be a darkish brown – this isn’t going to brown up light and lovely.  I also will turn thicker chops on each side (the skinny side so it stands up like a book – you may have to hold it there with the tongs) to make sure the chop is cooked through.

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You may need to add more oil to your pan as your cooking.  You’ll know if the oil gets too low because the pan will start smoking like nutso.  Keep your stove top fan on high the whole time you’re cooking this dish and just be ready for it.

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Incidentally, I find that this is one of those great dishes to prepare with a glass of red wine in one hand while you’re watching the stove.  This is less than 30 minutes from start to finish, so just the right amount of time to enjoy a glass of vino.

I like to serve this with Brussel sprouts, roasted potatoes, wilted spinach, or a Parmesan cous cous.  Enjoy!

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Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Tomato Salad

July 8, 2008

This is another Real Simple recipe that I tweaked…and it was great AND easy AND quick – the trifecta of my cooking technique!

Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Tomato Mozzarella Salad

1 6.5-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (I also fudged this a little – I just poured in what I thought looked right – probably closer to 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (I omitted this because I was in a hurry and didn’t have thyme – Hardy Har)
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Grape, cherry, or beefsteak tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces.  Really you can use any tomatoes – this is a summer standby for me and I particularly love it with heirloom cherry tomatoes, but that makes it one expensive side dish!
1 fresh mozzarella ball, cut into bite-size pieces

8 baguette slices, toasted (optional) (We served this on the side and buttered)

Mix the artichokes, Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of the thyme in a small bowl.

Cut a 2-inch pocket in the thickest part of each chicken breast – I was able to stuff the mixture in the “pocket” created by  the natural separation of the chicken breast. Stuff a quarter of the artichoke mixture into each pocket. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium. Grill the chicken, turning once, until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes per side.  I put a lid on over the chicken because I’m paranoid about cooking chicken properly, and it actually turned out just slightly overdone – try covering the pan just half of the time per side to keep it hot and moist, but not overdoing it.  I used tongs AND a spatula when turning the chicken in order to keep the stuffing inside the chicken.

While the chicken is cooking, put the tomato and mozzarella in a large mixing bowl and give it a few turns of olive oil and a  healthy splash of salt.  Mix this together – it’s easiest to use your hands to turn the salad, but you’ll get olive oil all over them, so have a sink and soap nearby and working!  If the tomatoes were room temperature when you prepared them, put the salad in the fridge while your chicken finishes cooking just to make it a little cool – not cold!

I was actually surprised how good this chicken was.  It’s pretty healthy (actually listed as “heart healthy” in Real Simple, although they didn’t make their tomato salad with mozzarella…whatever, Dude.)  The flavor was awesome and it’s on the “favorites” list at home!