Even though it seems like summer is starting to wind down we are still getting warm and humid weather here. This means I may not have the energy to spend as much time in the kitchen as I might under other circumstances so I want to make dinner as easy as possible. Of course, it can get a little tiring to have boneless chicken, hamburgers or sandwiches for dinner all of the time, so you want to add a little something different to repertoire in the kitchen. So what about pork? I may not seem to give pork a lot of love in the recipes I make, but I really do like it. However, a lot of times when we think about pork we think about pulled pork or pork roasts that take a long time in the kitchen, something you don’t want right now. One of the great things about pork is that you can very often find good deals on it so you can get a variety of pork chops, a pork loin roast or even pork tenderloin for pretty good prices and they are much more versatile than you might think. Pork takes to sauces, herbs and breading very nicely and if you can get a boneless pork loin roast on sale you can cut your own boneless chops from it, as thick as you like, and have a quick and easy meal and then freeze the rest. That is what I did recently when I made this recipe from Pierre Franey from New York Times Cooking for some basic breaded pork cutlets.
Breaded Pork Cutlets
8 boneless pork loin slices, about 3 ounces each, trimmed of excess fat
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried, or other herbs of your choice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons water
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 lemon wedges
Place the pork slices between sheets of plastic wrap on a flat surface. With a meat pounder or a mallet, pound them to flatten the pork slices without breaking the meat. The meat should be about 1/4-inch thick when you are done.
Combine the cumin, rosemary (or other herbs), salt and pepper in a small bowl. Blend the spices well. Season the pork cutlets on both sides with the spice mixture.
Beat the egg together with the water and place the egg mixture in a large flat dish. Coat the cutlets with the egg mixture, allow any excess to drip off and then dip the pork cutlets into the bread crumbs.
Place the pork cutlets on a flat surface and tap lightly with the flat side of a heavy knife to help the bread crumbs adhere well to each cutlet.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and cook the pork cutlets over medium heat, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the cutlets are golden brown and cooked through. Serve the cutlets with the lemon wedges.
It’s a pretty basic recipe that you may not need to think much about. The great thing is that you can use things you always have on hand to make a quick dinner. I opted not to use rosemary since we’re not big fans of it in our house and went with thyme instead, but you can use any of your favorite fresh herbs and I think it will turn out well. I made this with a simple side dish of rice and some broccoli and we had a meal in under 30 minutes.
Since the weather has been so warm, what better thing to have with your meal than a nice refreshing beverage the whole family can enjoy? We’re big iced tea drinkers around here and I usually just make some standard iced tea using tea bags and water, but since we have also had some great summer fruit around here lately, I decided to make use of that as well and incorporate it into the tea. I used this recipe from Bon Appetit for an easy plum tea that was delicious.
Plum Iced Tea
8 black tea bags
3 large sprigs lemon verbena or mint, plus more for serving
1 cup sugar
4 large red plums, cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine the tea bags, 3 lemon verbena sprigs or mint sprigs and 8 cups of cold water in a large pitcher. Cover the pitcher and chill it for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.