Crispy Pork Cutlets with Tuscan Salad

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 30 mins.

4 blade pork steak (boneless, about 4 ounces each, cut about 1/3 inch thick *)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 lemon (cut into quarters, for serving)
5 ounces baby arugula (or mixed lettuces)
1 fennel bulb (small, stems and fronds saved for another use, bulb cored and thinly sliced crosswise*)
1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (halved)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. For the Pork: Season pork with salt and pepper. Spread flour in a wide bowl or dish. Beat eggs in a second bowl or dish. Spread panko in a third bowl or dish. Line the bowls up in order (flour, eggs, and panko) with a large baking sheet at the end.

2. One at a time, thoroughly coat a chop in flour, shaking off excess flour. Place chop in the bowl with the eggs and let stand for 15 seconds; flip over and let stand for 15 seconds more. (This helps dissolve the flour for a stickier coating for the panko.) Transfer to the panko and coat evenly on both sides, patting panko to help adhere. Transfer to the baking sheet. Let stand to set the coating for 5 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire cake rack. Pour the oil into a large heavy skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Carefully place two chops into the oil. Cook until underside is golden brown and crisp, adjusting heat as needed so hot oil bubbles but the crust doesn’t brown too quickly, about 3 minutes. Using kitchen tongs, carefully flip chops over and cook to brown the other side 2 1/2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to the rack on the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining chops. (Do not drain the chops on paper towels or the crust will get soggy.)

4. For the Arugula and Shaved Fennel Salad: Place the arugula, fennel, and grape in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and toss, seasoning with salt and pepper. Be careful not to crush the arugula.

5. Transfer each chop to a dinner plate and top with equal portions of the salad. Add a lemon quarter to each and serve immediately.

Courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.