I grew up in a semi-Kosher household, the kind where it was okay to eat pork spareribs at the Chinese restaurant, and have Italian ham, country style ribs baked in Ah-So sauce, or bacon at home. But my mother drew a line in the sand at PORK CHOPS – a transgression of Jewishness that would have cast us into damnation or surely killed us of trichinosis if we ever crossed that line. So, as a newlywed novice cook, my first experience with actual pork chops was laid safely into the hands of Shake ‘n Bake (and no one helped). The cloud of possible food poisoning or divine retribution hung over me like the pendulum over the pit in a Vincent Price horror movie.
We survived, and today, I happily cook pork with impunity. One of our favorite meals, on the dinner menu for tonight, is Pork Chops Milanese. A green salad and a starch are all that’s required to make this a restaurant-quality meal. We’ll be enjoying this with the focaccia bread just out of the oven (see High Rise Caramelized Onion Focaccia post). The plate below is of our dinner on Friday March 13 – served with simple steamed asparagus and a salad of julienned beets, spring greens, onion, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
PORK CHOPS MILANESE
4 Frenched pork chops, about 10-12 ounces each
1/4 cup flour seasoned with S&P for dredging
1-1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Locatelli Pecorino Romano (much preferred over Parmesan)
1 tbs dried sage
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 extra large or large eggs lightly beaten
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
lemon wedges for serving
Preheat oven to 425. Combine panko, cheese, herbs and lemon peel in food processor or blender and pulse gently just to get them combined and to slightly reduce the size of the panko crumbs.
Lay out your breading ingredients this way – a 1 gallon ziplock bag in which to toss your pork chops with the flour, 2 at a time. Then a shallow bowl with the beaten eggs. And another shallow bowl with the bread crumb mixture.
Dip the floured pork chops in the egg and then coat completely with the crumb mixture, pressing to make sure it adheres.
Heat a 12″ cast iron skillet on medium to melt your olive oil and butter, and saute the pork chops about 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Then transfer the skillet to your oven and bake another 12 minutes. Serve with a wedge of lemon to squeeze on top.
You will not get trichinosis, and you will not be struck by lightning – only by delight at how good these are.