September 28, 2010
Crispy Breaded Pork with Sesame Spinach and Saffron Rice
Juicy, crunchy, and savory pork has a hidden secret: the breadcrumbs are bound to the meat by a marinade of deliciously salty soy sauce, fiery and flavorful Chile paste, and smooth, rich canola mayo. Its' a marinade that packs a big flavor punch and infuses tons of moisture into the meat, without the loaded calories of dredging the whole thing in eggs then deep-frying in oil.
On the weekdays I try not too eat too many things in one day that would make me feel like I have a halo of nutritional guilt hanging over my head for the weekend. Weekends are big for indulging, so it's perfect that this breaded pork chop only tastes indulgent. How sneaky.
Plus, everything is on the table within 20 minutes. For the side of saffron rice, I like to buy those small tubes of saffron infused rice from the regular grocery store. The whole package cooks in 20 minutes and has a deep saffron flavor that instantly makes a meal special. In fact, one small package is so saffron-intense that I dilute it by cooking it together with a half-cup of brown rice. This makes more than enough rice to take me into the next night with leftovers for enchiladas or a stir fry.
For the side of sesame spinach, which is one of my favorites for both its simplicity and wonderfully nutty taste, I preheat a dash of sesame oil in a pan with a clove of minced garlic, toss in a half bag of spinach leaves with the water still on from rinsing, and let it all cook down. When it's almost done I turn off the heat and add a dash of salt and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Together with the pork chop, whose interesting soy and chile marinade lend a hint of Asian flare, it's a winning weeknight trio of flavors that equally compliment each other. I think I'll just top this off with a nice glass of white wine... and since it's a Tuesday night, that can be our little secret.
Spicy and Savory Breaded Pork Chop: a mix of Panko and Whole Wheat breadcrumbs make the breading layer both crispy and nutritious, but use regular breadcrumbs if that's what you have.
2 boneless center-cut pork chops
2 T. canola mayo
2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1 T. chile paste
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Whole Wheat breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1 T. each of olive oil and Earth Balance Butter
Combine the mayo, soy suace, and chile paste in a plastic bag, then add the pork chops and let marinate for at least 15 minutes. Combine the Panko and Wheat breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with some salt and pepper, and preheat the olive oil and butter together in a heavy pan over medium heat. Remove the pork chops from the marinade, keeping the marinade on the chops but discarding the rest. Dredge each chop in the breadcrumbs, patting gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place in the pan and cook approx. 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Serve immediately.
adapted from Cooking Light