Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pork, thinly pounded please.

Meet hammer at work, originally uploaded by the_bashful_owl.

My favourite item in the kitchen may just be the meat hammer. Strange, as I simply adore my Ruby Red KitchenAid (I think that Ruby Red is her name, which is tragic) and would rescue her if a cyclone was coming. Ruby Red's twin-brother food processor comes close. As does the microplane (oh for perfectly grated cheese, garlic, ginger, chocolate, etc). I have some heart-shaped measuring cups, which are kitch and cute. I have an amazing heavy-based frying pan, which even the fella values. So why the meat hammer?

It is rarely used for one. It is old fashioned and speaks of my grandmother's era for another. I recall one as a child, peaking out of mum's utensil canister. It was one kitchen item I longed to play with, and often was permitted to. I love the big squares on one side and the little ones on the other - patterns, texture... I love the sound it makes when you are whacking your meat. I love the idea of being part of making your meal, so although I'm not doing the butchering I'm part of getting the meat to the table.

My pork intake is limited. At times it really puts me off in its porky form. Bacon, yep, ham, mmm hmm, pancetta, absolutely. But slabs of pork I'm not so sure about. Pork squashed thinly with a meat hammer, coated in crumbs and cheese, lightly fried until golden sounds okay though. When we need a "traditional" meal midweek at our house, this is what we eat. And my fella could consume up to half a dozen of these babies in one seating if they were offered to him. We also cook this dish as it is something we can prepare together. Someone has to make the breadcrumbs in the processor while someone is smashing up the pork chops. The fella cooks to pork to perfection, while I steam the veggies in the microwave and rummage for the mayo in the fridge. And whole egg mayo it must be please.

Fryin' up the pork, originally uploaded by the_bashful_owl.

Crispy Pork Chops
Serves 2 – 4 (4 at a pinch).

2 pork loin chops, bone in around 150 g each
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
2 ½ c. freshly made breadcrumbs
½ c. grated pecorino cheese
Pepper to season
Olive oil
Butter if desired

Using a meat hammer, thin out your pork chops until they are a bit less than 1 cm thick. If they end up huge in size, chop them in halt to have one bony bit, one fleshy bit.

Beat together the egg, mustard and thyme in a wide shallow bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese and pepper on a plate. Dip your pork pieces into the egg mix, making sure they are covered well. Place on top of breadcrumb mix. Pat down, turn over and repeat. Try to get a thick even coating all over the pork. Place on a wire rack to dry while you prepare the remaining meaty bits.

Heat oil in a solid frying pan. Add a little butter if you wish. When things are hot, yet on a medium heat, cook the pork chops for around 5 minutes per side. You made need to cook them in batches.

Serve with freshly steamed broccoli, plenty of real mayonnaise and some more mustard. A slice of bread is nice too, as is some boiled potatoes.

From Nigella’s Feast by Nigella Lawson.

Crispy pork chops, originally uploaded by the_bashful_owl

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