Although the calendar announced that it was spring back on the 21st, not every day here in New England has reflected the new season. We’ve had some 60 to 70 degree highs, and also seen the thermometer drop into the 30s, especially in the evening. To counter the mercurial weather, I’ve been cooking dishes that work whether it’s warm or cold outside. One such recipe for Crispy Pork Cutlets with Arugula and Fennel Salad has been especially well suited for this “in between” season.
A few weeks ago at a local supermarket, I spotted a package of sliced pork tenderloin. I’d never seen pork tenderloins offered that way, and immediately added a container to my cart. At home, I pounded the pork until it was extra thin and then seasoned the cutlets. Next, I dipped them in flour, then in beaten egg, and finally in a mix of panko crumbs and finely grated Gruyère. It took only minutes to pan-fry them until they were a rich golden hue and extra crispy. For serving I arranged the pork atop a salad of arugula and thinly sliced fennel tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. My husband (who never met a piece of fried meat, fish, or poultry he didn’t like) loved them, and I did too.
The crispy cutlets were hearty enough to stave off any chill, while the salad dressed in citrus provided a refreshing accent. I’ve made this recipe several times already, and something tells me I’ll be making it again before truly warm spring days are a given!
Print This Recipe
Crispy Pork Tenderloin Cutlets with Arugula and Fennel Salad
Arugula and Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Several grinds lack pepper
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped shallots
6 to 7 cups baby arugula
1/2 medium fennel bulb (inner core cut out and discarded) and bulb sliced into very thin julienned strips
Eight 1/2 –inch thick slices pork tenderloin (about 12 ounces or slightly more)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup flour
1 large egg beaten with 3 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup panko crumbs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (generous 4 oz) finely grated Gruyère cheese (If your cheese is shredded, use a sharp knife to cut it into smaller pieces)
Canola oil for sautéing pork
Lemon wedges for garnish
1. Prepare the salad dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt, pepper, and mustard. Whisk in olive oil and stir in shallots. (Dressing can be prepared a day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and whisk well before using.)
2. For pork, place a slice between 2 sheets of waxed paper and with a meat pounder or rolling pin, pound to about 1/8 inch thickness. Repeat with remaining slices. Combine salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Pat pork cutlets dry with paper towels and season both sides of each with some of the seasoning.
3. Spread flour on a dinner plate. Whisk egg and milk together in a shallow bowl. Place panko and grated Gruyere on another plate and rub together with your fingers so cheese blends into the breadcrumbs. Coat each pork cutlet with flour and shake off excess, then dip in egg mix and let excess egg drip off, then coat in breadcrumb mixture. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Heat enough oil to generously coat the bottom of a large, heavy skillet set over medium heat. When oil is very hot, add enough cutlets to fit in a single layer, and cook until golden on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until golden on other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Reduce heat to low and set a lid slightly ajar on the skillet. Cook 1 minute more and then remove to drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining cutlets if necessary. Cover cooked cutlets loosely with foil.
5.To assemble salad, place fennel in salad bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of dressing. Marinate a few minutes, then add arugula and toss with just enough (about 2 more tablespoons) remaining dressing to coat lightly. Season salad with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Arrange 2 cutlets per serving on a bed of arugula salad. Drizzle some remaining salad dressing over each cutlet. Garnish cutlets with lemon wedges. Serves 4 with 2 cutlets each.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2021