Posts Tagged ‘pork’

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.

herb-and-parm-pork-2  herb-and-parm-pork-3  herb-and-parm-pork-4

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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Cruisin’

June 3, 2008

Brian and I went on a little vacay…okay, a big vacay!  We went on a week-long Caribbean cruise to Coco Cay in the Bahamas, St. Thomas USVI, and St. Maarten D/FVI.  As you know, one of the main draws of a cruise for a lot of people is the food: the endless, boundless gluttony of food. 

So here it is: a week’s worth of cruise ship dinners:

Not the main dining room, but the whole crew together beforehand at Vintages, the onboard wine bar

Sunday
Caesar salad.
“Pan-seared” pork medallions with mushroom “ragout” and (nutmeg) mashed potatoes.  And a broccoli.
Low-fat blueberry and peach cobbler with gratis ice cream.
The Caesar salad was pretty good, but my “pan-seared” pork was a little closer to lightly browned and
finished with 400 other pork loins in the massive ship oven.  The mushroom “ragout” was cream of mushroom – they weren’t fooling anyone.  And nutmeg in mashed potatoes…in May…in the Caribbean…was a little off-putting, as was the one limp stalk of broccoli bravely staked out in it’s green stamp.  The low-fat (a description that was emphasized ad nasuem) blueberry and peach cobbler was probably my second favorite dessert of the entire trip, although the added scoop of vanilla ice cream certainly negated any healthful properties that dessert possessed.

Monday
Shrimp cocktail and lobster bisque.
“Filet” of beef with mashed potatoes and 2 mushroom caps.
Grand Marnier/Amaretto souffle with “enough” sauce.
Formal night: creme de la creme.  And I loves me some shrimp cocktail.  And thank God our server (who was already beginning to grate at this point) had the sense NOT to dump the cocktail sauce all over my shrimp, but gave me a glop on the plate beside the shrimp.  And what is it with these people and the nutmeg?  Although it added a nice kick to the bisque. I was looking forward to the filet of beef: the nicely caramelized outside you cut through to a warm and deliciously tender center.  Except this filet was 2 SLICES from a hunk of meat, meaning minimal caramelized outside goodness.  Le sigh.  I also happen to love a souffle, although our waiter seemed to think Grand Marnier and Amaretto were the same things…and proceeded to give me two scoops of sauce, because when
I asked him to stop at one he thought it wasn’t enough.

Tuesday
Risotto with scallops, Caprese salad.
Lamb shank with mashed potatoes, diced potatoes, carrots and celery.
Warm chocolate cake accompanied by a strawberry sundae. 
The risotto was good – but my scallops are better. The Caprese salad was good because Caprese salad is just good.  The entree was also good, but I happen to love lamb and mashed potatoes (sans nutmeg).  And dessert was…meh.  And you can guess why the cake came with a scoop of strawberry ice cream smothered in sugary strawberries.  Because chocolate cake clearly screams for a strawberry sundae accompaniment instead of something like, say, VANILLA ice cream (which is what I asked for, but it was revealed that our server didn’t care to go to the kitchen to get it and just so happened to have the makings of a strawberry sundae nearby.)

Wednesday
Chops night!
Caesar salad spears and a shrimp and crab cake.
6 oz filet with baked potato, creamed spinach, and sauteed mushrooms.
Croissant bread pudding.
The food was clearly the best this night, with the service matching.  I loved the presentation of the Caesar salad spears: long romaine lettuce leaves topped with the dressing, croutons, and cheese.  The filet was fantastic, the sides great, and dessert fabulous!

Thursday
Spinach salad and a crab cake.
Pork loin.
Sugar-free fruit “pillow.”
The crab cake was described perfectly by our table-mate, Diane as “deviled” crab cakes – exactly what they were.  The pork loin was actually pretty good, although the fruit “pillows” totally and completely lame.

Friday
Mushroom puff pastry and Caesar salad.
Lobster.
Another formal night, this time with lobsters (which, incidentally, I just read a hilarious anecdote about in the book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.  This book is a food blogger’s hidden dream come true.)  It must be said: this was maybe the worst food of the trip.  You can’t impress me by just flinging down a lobster tail.  I’m not going to ignore the tasteless ice cream scoop mound of rice, underdone broccoli, and blanched baby carrots because you taunt me with a crustaceous vehicle for butter.  At least bring me a baked potato that I can suffocate with various dairy products.  And your flour less chocolate dollop isn’t so decadent that it can tempt me without some beautiful cream to cut it’s richness.  Where do you think we are, CANCUN?!  (yes, Alison…that was soley for you).
I decided against dessert to assert my snobbery and Cancun-i-ness.

Saturday
Caesar salad, spinach dip, and shrimp cocktail.
Turkey with mashed potatoes and stuffing.
Key lime pie.
We were warned by Brian’s dad and stepmother the first night to expect “Tom Turkey” the last night.  But I just so’s happen to love turkey, so I quite enjoyed it and the trimmings (although there wasn’t enough gravy.  There never is…)  And the key lime pie?  Best dessert of the cruise, and fitting since it was the last morsels to leave the proverbial taste in our mouth as we left our cruise.

I am quite happy to report that I only gained 1 pound on the ship.  Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that I am basically a stick of butter and eat so much normally that this was almost par for the course.