Monday, August 11, 2008

Pork Cutlets with Peach Sauce

There were 4 boneless pork loin chops in the freezer which I thawed and brined. I used two today and will use the other 2 tomorrow.

A word about brining: it does wonders for chicken and pork. It does a bit of tenderizing and infuses the meat with flavor. For best results don’t rinse the meat or chicken after brining, just dry it well with paper towels. The one exception I made is with the 2 extra pork chops I saved for tomorrow. They will be part of a stir-fry with some other salty ingredients. So I did rinse them.

Last week I confessed to having slightly overcooked some pork chops I was preparing on the stovetop grill. This time I got it just right. I mention the possible use of some grill seasoning in the recipe below. We just happen to have a jar of no-salt seasoning. While the chops rested in the fridge after being pounded flat, they rejoiced in a coating (both sides) of this stuff. It doesn't bring a lot of flavor to the party, but does give a complex background component. Whatever you do, don't add any more salt as you prepare pork that's been brined for more than 4 hours.

How to brine

There are lots of variations to brining. This is pretty much the most basic method.

Dissolve 2 tbsp kosher salt and 2 tbsp sugar in 2 cups of water. Put the pork or chicken in a freezer bag, squeeze carefully to get out as much air as you can. Seal the bag and place it in the fridge, putting the bag in a large bowl so if it leaks you’re protected. Leave the bag alone for up to 6 hours.

Remove meat from the liquid. Discard the liquid, but save the freezer bag. Just rinse it out with water and set it aside. Dry the meat well on paper towels. If you have the time, line a plate with paper towels and refrigerate the meat uncovered for an hour or two. You can skip this step if you want.

Pork cutlets with peach sauce

2 boneless pork loin chops, brined and pounded flat
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 peaches
¼ cup water
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Splenda
Red pepper flakes
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water

Start with the peach sauce. Peel the peaches and remove the pits. Chop one peach into a fine dice. Slice the other into 12 slices. Put the peaches and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the vinegar, Splenda, and red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the cornstarch 1 tsp at a time until you achieve a good, gravy-like texture. Season with a pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and set aside.

One hour before cooking, take the chops out of the fridge. One by one, place them in the reserved freezer bag and pound them to about ¼” thickness. Now you can discard the bag.

Cut a sliver of pork and microwave it for 30 seconds or so. Now taste it. This will help you determine if you are going to add salt to the meat when you cook. It is entirely a personal taste preference. After doing this, I rinsed the chops because I detected the potention for over-saltiness. Make your own decision.

Heat a large skillet (big enough to hold both chops) or stovetop grill over medium high heat until very hot. Sprinkle the chops with black pepper, salt - if using, and/or other grill seasonings you may like.

Put the peaches over low heat to warm.

Grill the chops until the edges are opaque. Flip them over and turn off the heat. After 2 minutes, no more, make a slit in the thickest part of a chop. If it is pink it’s done. It it’s too pink for you, let it sit for 1 more minute only. Remove to heated plates and top with the peach mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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