Last week a good friend and I were discussing what we were cooking now that extra-cold weather has arrived in New England. After an array of hearty soups and stews, I was looking for something different to stave off the chill. My talented pal suggested pairing crispy, breaded pork cutlets with an apple coleslaw. I loved this idea and began culling my files for recipes.
For the pork, I turned to a dish I first made back in the 80s. It called for cutting thick slices from a pork tenderloin, pounding them into cutlets, coating them with a bread crumb and cheese mix, then quickly pan-frying them. To go with the crispy pork, I found a favorite slaw recipe and simply replaced some of the shredded cabbage with finely julienned apples. Voilà! A new menu for the below-zero temps expected this weekend.
The delicious pork cutlets are easy to assemble. Just make certain you cut off and remove any excess fat and silver membrane before slicing the pork tenderloin into cutlets. The secret to this dish’s great flavor is that the coating is prepared with bread crumbs (preferably Italian seasoned ones) that are combined with grated Gruyère cheese, so don’t be tempted to omit the latter.
The coleslaw is a winter twist on traditional versions. I tossed julienned Granny Smiths and thinly sliced green cabbage along with chopped green onions in a robust dressing prepared with cider vinegar, plenty of Dijon mustard, a hint of cayenne and some sour cream and mayonnaise. Mounded on attractive cabbage leaves, this winter coleslaw makes a perfect foil to the crispy pork for those freezing winter days ahead!
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Crispy Pork Cutlets with Apple Coleslaw
1 pork tenderloin, (one pound or slightly larger), trimmed of excess fat and membrane
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Italian- seasoned bread crumbs
5 to 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated to yield 2 cups
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk (whole or reduced fat)
Canola oil for sautéing the pork
Lemon wedges for garnish
Apple Cole Slaw (Recipe follows.)
1.Cut the pork tenderloin on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. You should get 8 to 9 slices Place a slice between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat pounder or rolling pin to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Repeat with remaining slices using more plastic wrap if needed.
2.Transfer the bread crumbs and the cheese to a food processor, and pulse until the cheese is mixed with the bread crumbs.
3.Place egg and milk in a shallow bowl and whisk well to combine. Place the bread crumb/cheese mixture in another shallow bowl. Pat the pork slices dry with paper towels and then season them generously with salt and pepper. Dip each pork slice into the egg mixture and then coat on both sides with the bread crumbs. Set prepared slices on a large plate or tray to rest for 15 minutes before cooking.
4.Add enough canola oil to a large, heavy skillet to cover the bottom of the pan well and set skillet over medium heat. When oil is very hot (a drip of water sprinkled over the hot oil should hiss) add enough pork slices to fit comfortably in a single layer. Don’t crowd them. Cook 3 minutes or more until golden brown on the bottom. and turn with a metal spatula. Cook on other side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully; cutlets should be golden and crisp when done. If at any point the meat starts to brown too quickly, lower the heat. Remove to a baking sheet and cover with foil to keep warm.
5.Serve the pork cutlets garnished with lemon wedges along with Apple Coleslaw.
Adapted from Betty Rosbottom’s Cooking School Cookbook by Betty Rosbottom (Workman Press 1987)
Apple Cole Slaw
One medium (about 2 pd) green cabbage, preferably with attractive outer leaves
2 medium Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream, regular or reduced fat
1/4 cup mayonnaise, regular or reduced fat
Scant 1/2 cup green onions including 2 inches of green stems, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1.Remove attractive outer leaves from cabbage, then rinse and pat dry. Wrap leaves in
paper towels and place in a large plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
2.Quarter cabbage lengthwise, then cut out and discard hard, center cores. Cut 2 or 3 of the quarters, crosswise, into thin slices or shred in a food processor to yield 3 cups. (Save extra cabbage for another use.)
3.Quarter apples lengthwise and cut out the cores. Slice quarters into thin julienned strips about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide to yield 2 cups. (Save any extra apple for another use.)
4.Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, cayenne pepper, mustard, sour cream, and mayonnaise in a large bowl and mix well. Add julienned apples, shredded cabbage, chopped green onions, and all but 1 teaspoon of the parsley. Mix well. Cover, and refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours.
5.Bring slaw to room temperature before serving. Line a large, shallow bowl with reserved cabbage leaves, mound salad in the bowl, and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon parsley.
Or, place 2 to 3 cabbage leaves in the center of a platter and mound coleslaw in leaves. Surround with pork cutlets and garnish with lemon wedges.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2023