Pork schnitzel with a summer salad and Champagne vinaigrette
a.k.a. Pork Milanese, a.k.a. Wieninleike
I usually go with the term schnitzel, but you'll find this preparation for various meats all over the world in endless forms. Pounded out, breaded and quickly fried meats can be found in Italy called Milanese, in Japan in ramen noodles dishes or in Finland called wieninleike just to name a few. The term I grew up with and feel most familiar with is schnitzel, so that's what I'll call it here. Whatever you call it, it's tasty and super versatile. With summer upon us, this recipe calls for a light salad with pickled peppers, tomatoes and a champagne vinaigrette. When fall comes knocking, slices of anchovy, fried egg and a lemon might be suitable, or for the cold winter months, mashers and gravy really hit the spot.
Any cut of pork can work for this recipe, but there are a few things to note for different cuts. If you decide to use pork shoulder you might want to pound it out a little thinner to soften up all the connective tissue that makes the shoulder so flavorful. If you're using a cut from the leg feel free to pound out the slices a little less. I'm going to use the loin here, so pounding it out to any thinner than a quarter of an inch really isn't necessary. I like approaching the dish with the loin so you can keep it a bit thicker which allows you to cook the schnitzel to right around medium. Most butchers will have some boneless loin chops set aside which makes for easy prep work. Remember to pick up pork that's been thoughtfully and humanely raised because quality of meat is crucial for schnitzel. This recipe is intended for four, but just fry more pork if you're having a party!
For the pork you'll need
- 4 pork loins pounded to your liking
- Bowl of All Purpose flour
- Bowl of 5 eggs, whipped
- Bowl of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
To pound the pork, place the pork in between two sheets of plastic wrap and on a sturdy work surface you can begin to gently pound the meat. A meat mallet works best, but if you don't have one just grab a rolling pin and have at it. Try your best to get an even piece of pork to ensure an evenly cooked end result. Once you have your meat to your desired thickness, set your bowls next to each other in the order of flour, eggs, panko. Salt your pork, and then place it in the flour bowl and coat it. Shake off any extra flour and dip the pork into the egg bowl and finally into the panko making sure its fully covered with breadcrumbs. Repeat the process with all of the pork, stack them on a plate and set aside.
For the salad you'll need
- 4 small sweet peppers, cut into thin rounds
- 4 small tomatoes, cut into eight segments and seeds removed
- 4 handfuls greens
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced
- Champagne vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Pinch of sugar
First, make the pickled peppers. Take a ratio of 50% champagne vinegar, 50% water, a pinch of salt and sugar put the mix into a small pot and put in on the stove. Bring it to a boil and drop in the thinly sliced peppers, turn off the heat and let them sit for a half hour or up to a week. To make the vinaigrette, sink your diced shallots into 1/3 cup vinaigrette. Let the shallots sit for 20 minutes to take the harsh onion edge off and then whisk in 2/3's cup olive oil, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard and some salt to taste. This should make enough vinaigrette for the schnitzel and then some. Just save it in the fridge for a later in the week.
Gather all your prepped ingredients, some grapeseed or canola oil, a frying pan big enough to fit the breaded schnitzel and a plate for plating. To cook the schnitzel, heat the oil in your pan until it's just smoking. Place the schnitzel in the pan and let the breading begin to brown. Flip it over and repeat. During this process feel free to use your hand to press down areas that look like they need more browning. Keep an eye on the heat as well, as you don't want any burnt breading. A golden crust is ideal. On your plate, lay down the golden schnitzel and top it with your salad of pickled peppers, tomatoes and greens tossed in champagne vinaigrette. Add a squeeze of lemon if you'd like. Enjoy!