Pork Milanese with Arugula and Cherry-Tomato Salad

There are days when simple is wonderful, don’t you think?  When you want to savor a dinner without a big fuss, and enjoy a few moments with your family.  Tonight was that type of evening, and I’d love to say that it was all about our sense of togetherness, but I have to admit that we had a bit of encouragement from the weather.  Did I mention that it’s nearly 100 degrees outside?  Our Minnesota sensibilities have been rocked by this heatwave, and it was obvious that tonight we just needed to move slowly and speak in a leisurely manner.  This meal was a fantastic centerpiece for just such a plan.

The original menu called for hamburgers on the grill, but late in the afternoon a hot wind began buffeting the house and we knew it’d be tough to keep a grill lit for cooking.  Thank goodness!  I offered to give it a try, but Cath had a better idea: pork chops in a pan.  I have to admit that I was secretly relieved.  The scent of these chops frying in olive oil was heavenly, and the crunchy crust was a terrific complement to the savory moist meat.  The arugula salad was quite simple as well, but we very much enjoyed the peppery flavor.  Megan, our oldest, commented on how much she enjoyed the salad as well.  New tastes are developing here in the Solberg house!

This is an easy meal, perfect for an evening when you’re not driven to create culinary art.  Funny, it felt a little artsy as we plated it to serve, so maybe it was an example of a reductionist abstract with a – oh forget that, it was delicious.  And that’s good enough for me!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 8 1/4-inch thick boneless pork chops (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • thick slices white sandwich bread
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 5 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Preparation:

1.  Season the pork shops all over with salt and paper.  Pulse the bread in a food processor to make coarse crumbs (you should have about 3 cups).  Transfer the breadcrumbs to a shallow baking dish and toss with the cheese, parsley and rosemary.  Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl.  Put the flour in another shallow bowl.  Dredge each chop in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs and coat in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing so the coating sticks.

2.  Heat 1/4-inch olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Working in batches, cook the pork chops until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

3.  Toss the arugula and tomatoes in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the pork chops among plates and season with salt.  Serve with the arugula salad and lemon wedges.

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Spinach Salad with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

The vinaigrette for this salad is simply wonderful.   There are so many flavors happening, and they truly marry well in the mouth.  I love spinach salad anyway, and I don’t think you can go too far wrong with crispy, crumbled bacon.

This recipe from our friends at Cooking Light magazine.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon country-style Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped Braeburn apple
  • 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach

Preparation

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add mushrooms and remaining ingredients; toss well to coat.

Yield 8 servings (serving size: about 1-1/2 cups)