Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Twist On The Ordinary

One of the little challenges I like to set for myself is to make a meal out of only what I have on hand at the time, in the house or in the garden. Mostly, I have to say, it works out very well because it forces me to be a bit more creative and substitute with what I have lying around. It also results in interesting twists on the ordinary or the traditional which are often better because they are unexpected flavours and sometimes even a change of technique to better suit the season.

Today I've done a variation on the absolute classic crumbed cutlet. Who doesn't love a cutlet?
 I know I am very likely to order one if I see it on a menu. But when we are being health concious we tend to think about the frying aspect so maybe deny ourselves this scrummy dish. Well this different take might make you change your mind.

This is my Buttermilk Pork Cutlet which is oven baked instead of pan fried. It is also not made with the formula flour/egg/crumb covering that we are used to.


2-4 pork loin chops

300 ml buttermilk

 4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

heaped teaspoon dried chilli flakes

2 cups of fresh bread crumbs. (I used 4 slices of stale wholegrain sourdough )

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

spray olive oil

salt/ pepper
Firstly it is marinated in buttermilk combined with rosemary and chilli flakes for at least an hour before cooking. Buttermilk contains a culture and is acidic like yoghurt, so it has the effect of tenderising the meat. The pork that we buy routinely these days tends to be very low in fat through out the meat and lacks the marbling that you might see in red meat. I suppose this reduces our overall fat intake, but unfortunatley we sacrifice flavour and tenderness in our pork meat. So this marinade has the duel properties of boosting the flavour and tenderising the meat. Buttermilk is practically fat free as well, so other than the bread crumbs, there is no extra fat or starch added to the coating. If you need to do a gluten free version, just use gluten free bread in the processor to make the crumbs.

So, Method:

Pour the buttermilk into a shallow container and mix in the rosemary and chilli flakes. immerse the pork chops in the marinade ensuring that they are well coated, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
In another shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, parmesan, 2 large pinches of salt and ground black pepper to taste.  I take the meat out of the buttermilk marinade and put it straight in the bread crumbs, pressing so that they stick well to the outside. It's then placed on a baking paper lined tray and sprayed with olive oil spray.


Bake at 200 degrees C for about 45 min (depending on the thickness of your cutlets) The cutlets I used here were about 2cm thick, so if you are using thinner, make the oven hotter so that the crumbs brown and cook for less time. I find that as a general rule, they are usually cooked perfectly by the time the crumbs are golden. Serve with a lemon wedge.

I have a particular liking for roasting vegetables but in the summertime, people usually have more of a desire for salads. So I have started using room temperature roasted veg tossed with interesting salad leaves or herbs as a compromise between a pleasing summer side dish and the more intense flavours gained from roasting.

So as an acompaniment to our porky cutlet, I'm doing:

Roasted Pumpkin & Cauliflower Salad


2 cups of small diced pumpkin

1/2 a head of a small cauliflower

1-2 cups rocket leaves

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp  ground coriander seed

3/4 tsp ground cumin

salt & pepper
half a lemon

balsamic vinegar glaze

2 tbl spoons olive oil for roasting
extra virgin olive oil to dress leaves

Cut up pumpkin into small pieces about 2cm square. Cut cauliflower into florets, cutting largest florets in half.
Place in baking dish lined with baking paper.

Combine olive oil with salt, cumin, turmeric and coriander seed.
Drizzle over vegetable and toss so that veg pieces are evenly coated in spiced oil. Grind black pepper over veggies.

Bake at 180 degrees c Remove from oven after 15 minutes and turn veg over . Squeeze over juice of half lemon and replace in oven for further 15-25 minutes.

Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Toss rocket leaves in balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil then
add roasted veg to rocket and toss gently and serve.



Tip: the buttermilk and breadcrumb technique works equally well with any meat you might want to do a bread coating on; chicken, veal and even fish. Just alter the herb component to better suit the meat!

What ingredient substitutions have you tried? Did they triumph or bomb?
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  1. hey AMP, there seems to be some serious amount of awesome flowing from your kitchen, might have to give some of these a try one day soon....keep up the good work, and the efforts to make me a culinary master somewhat like yourself.

  2. Thanks for explaining the reason for the Buttermilk, so many recipe sites just tell you what to do .. and not why you are doing it ... love your work :)

  3. Hey AMP looks yummy. I'm gunna try this tonight, will let you know how it goes. Love that it's egg free for my Sammy. I'll be checking quite regularly coz I often lack inspiration! You appear to have plenty to go round.

  4. I had a look at your gnocchi recipe at work - i enjoy the way that you blog - not that i am any expert at blogging. But i agree with anonymous above - the explanations / rationale add value to the why the recipe will work, for example the buttermilk. The gnocchi is definitely worth a go as is the cutlet.
    Will be checking in from time to time. Yummy!