HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Ok, it's been the new year for over a week now...but better late than never! I had a wonderful holidays full of family, friends, and lots and lots of food. Not food that I made, but everywhere we went delicious treats and meals were put in front of us. In fact, I could probably count on one hand the number of meals I made here in my own kitchen. It was nice being spoiled for a few weeks but my own kitchen is calling me. I received a couple of new cookbooks for Christmas (thanks, Corey!) and have already tabbed many recipes that I can't wait to try.
I find it is sometimes hard to find 'fresh' flavours during the winter months. Fruits and vegetables aren't as vibrant and flavourful as they are during the summer. Tomatoes have gone from bright red to a dullish pinky-green. Strawberries may look beautiful from the outside, but cut into one and find a white, flavourless fruit masquerading as a strawberry. So to find fresh taste in the winter I usually turn to fresh herbs. Even in the dead of winter I find they can bring a really bright taste to dishes. A few days ago when at the grocery store, I picked up fresh basil, thyme, and sage, and used them as a starting point for searching for a recipe.
I have been reading up on pan-frying lately, since it has always been difficult to make a good crust with gluten free ingredients. I would usually just pass by any recipe that involved a coating, assuming I wouldn't be able to make it. But now I've got a different mid set and decided to try substituting and see how it turned out.
Creating a 'crust' on something usually requires three steps:
1. Dusting with flour. Instead of flour I used cornstarch and found it worked really well.
2. Egg/egg white mixture. To this step you could add any wet seasoning (mustard, lemon/lime juice, etc.)
3. Breadcrumbs, crushed crackers, panko - whatever is going to add that 'crunch' to the coating. I actually found gluten free breadcrumbs! (Is this considered cheating?) Now that I've got a box of them I feel the need to coat everything in a crunchy GF breadcrumb layer.
And a couple of hints about pan frying:
1. Don't overcrowd the pan. If your pieces are too close together they will trap moisture and end up steaming instead of developing a crispy crust.
2. Only cook each side once. Flipping back and forth between sides could start to knock off the crust.
3. Serve immediately. It will lose its crispyness and start to become soggy.
Sage & Parmesan Crusted Porkchops (adapted from Cooking Light: Way to Cook)
4 thin boneless pork chops, pounded between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/2 ince thickness (this allows the inside of the pork to cook quickly and stay moist)
1 cup GF breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
1/4 cup parmesan (fresh is best!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup corn starch
2 whites, lightly beated
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
Set up your bowls in this order (I used wide shallow bowls):
1st bowl: Cornstarch
2nd bowl: Egg whites combined with mustard
3rd bowl: Breadcrumbs combined with sage, parmesan, salt and pepper
Doing one pork chop at a time, dip the first pork chop into the cornstarch, shake off any excess. Next, dip into egg mixture. Finally, dip into breadcrumb mixture, again shaking off any excess. Place pork chop on plate and continue until you have coated all four.
Heat a large nonstick pan to medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add pork chops, making sure they are now crowding the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until a thermometer reads 155-160F.
We served with thyme mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.