The Fabulous Foodie

The Fabulous Foodie, hosted by Chef Aimee, is an online account of one amateur chef's kitchen successes and mishaps, recipe and product roadtests, and food experiences. Chef Aimee's philosophy is that Food Is Love, and her blog contains reflections on the connection between fabulous food, a happy marriage and solid-gold friendships.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Sometimes There's Just Nothing Like Pork Chop

Pork Chops Milanese from the Babbo Cookbook was on the menu at our house last night. I'll post the recipe, which you can also find on Epicurious. Don't believe the reviewer that said this was bland -- she must have had a sinus infection.

As I chewed my first savory bite, I rolled my eyes to the heavens, looked at my husband and said with reverence, "Sometimes there's just nothing like a pork chop."

He stopped mid-chew and looked at me like I had three heads.

"What?" I said. "You have a problem with pork chops?"

"No, I like pork chops just fine," he said, shaking his head and turning his attention back to his plate. He does like pork chops. But he stops short of appreciating them, as I do, for their utter ability to hit the spot. Like I said, sometimes there's just nothing like a pork chop. And I'm not afraid to say it!

This recipe, as I said before, is from the Babbo cookbook, a creation of Iron Chef "Molto Mario" Batali. I appreciate good Italian peasant food, and that's what he specializes in. I requested a trip to Lupa, one of his places, for my birthday. Other than the fact that the menu needed a glossary on the back because of the pretentious use of all Italian (Hey, Mario! You're in America, fool!), it was a great meal. It better have been because the service stunk and we were packed into the tiny space like a rush hour subway. So much so that a crack of fresh pepper on my neighbor's plate made me sneeze.

Anyway, back to last night's dinner. It was delish, however once again I confirmed my previous statement that pork doesn't photograph well.

Here's the recipe, with all due credit to Molto Mario... who, by the way, is a redhead like me and so I feel a certain kinship despite my Lupa experience.


4 center-cut pork chops, 1 inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted
1/4 cup plus 3 T extra-virgin olive oil (I used less. My figure requires such consideration!)
1 T unsalted butter
1 bunch of arugula, stems removed
1/2 pound teardrop tomatoes, halved lenghtwise
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges, seeds removed

1. Remove the bones from the pork chops. Using a meat mallet, carefully pound the pork chops until they are uniformly 1/4 inch thick. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Dip each chop into the beaten eggs, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge each chop in the bread crumbs and set on a plate.
2. In a 14- to 16-inch sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil (again, feel free to use less, says Chef Aimee... and for the record, I'd advise Mario to use less, too!) over medium heat until just smoking. Add the butter and allow it to foam for 10 to 15 seconds. Place the chops in the pan and cook until light golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, carefully turn the chops and cook on the other side until light golden brown, about 5 more minutes. Add more oil if necessary, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, to avoid scorching the breading.
3. In a large bowl, combine the arugula and tomatoes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper and toss to coat the greens.
4. Place one pork chop on each of four warmed dinner plates. Divide the arugula salad evenly among the plates, place a lemon wedge on each plate, and serve immediately.

Chef Aimee's yummy alternative: Since I cut the fat by using less olive oil, I felt free to add a little back in by halving a handful of bocconcini (small bite-sized balls of fresh mozzarella) and tossing those with the salad. I have a weakness for these perhaps because their name means "Little Mouthful" in Italian.... I love that!


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