Crispy. Don’t you love the sound of that word? It just screams, “Dip me in something and eat me now!” To get us to this delicious place, I’m going to take it as common knowledge that we all are familiar with what chefs call “the breading procedure”: dredging a piece of meat, fish or vegetable in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs to ready it for future crispifying.
There are a lot of different theories out there about how to make a cutlet perfectly crispy. Is it all about the “double breading”? Should they be baked or fried? Is there magic infused in those panko-style breadcrumbs?
I don’t know much about magic breadcrumbs, but what I am here to tell you is what works for me without flaw each and every time. My secret is in the egg. Adding a couple of tablespoons of flour to the beaten eggs I mentioned earlier thickens them into a paste that doesn’t just adhere, it glues all of that delicious breading to your soon-to-be dinner. That one little tweak, I promise you, will guarantee you the utmost in crispy every time.
Try it out using the recipe below and then prepare to work your crispy magic on all other kinds of foods.
Crispy Tuscan Cutlets
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
2 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless pork chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 large eggs
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Butterfly the pork chops open and then cut them into two pieces, making four cutlets total. Lay the cutlets one at a time in a plastic storage bag or between two sheets of plastic wrap; pound each cutlet out with a meat mallet or small skillet to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper and set aside.
Set up three dishes on a work surface. Spread 1/4 cup flour in the first, beat together the eggs and remaining flour in the second, and toss together the breadcrumbs and cheese in the third.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with enough oil to make a thin, even layer.
Bread the cutlets by first dredging them in the flour, then coating them evenly in the egg paste and finally covering them in the breadcrumbs. Cook the cutlets in the skillet until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side (if needed, cook the cutlets in batches, holding finished cutlets on a cooling screen set over a baking sheet). Serve the cutlets warm with wedges of lemon.
The beauty of a cutlet is how well is stretches two chops into four portions. If you’ve got a house of hungry eaters, however, double up on the meat because these are going to fly off their plates!
These rich, cheesy cutlets do well with a tame and simply dressed side salad to round them out as dinner.
More Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team for Food Network stars like Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest Tweets on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.