Brined Pork Schnitzel
Early in the day I made two make-ahead meals for later. I made Lamb & Eggplant Ragu, that we had on another night and my Chicken Curry (page 130) that we had on October 8.
We had Brined Pork Schnitzel, Red Cabbage with Apples & Onions (page 165), Bacon-Wrapped Brats, sauerkraut, and Applesauce with Fresh Thyme (page 208).
You could add celery seed to the brine as well.
- 1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, preferably dark amber
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 3 or 4 black peppercorns
- 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 or 3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 or 3 fresh sage leaves
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- Ice cubes
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds pork loin
- Flour, for dredging
- 3 eggs
- 1 to 2 cups panko breadcrumbs, for dredging
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Combine 1 1/2 cups water, the wine, salt, maple syrup, lemon, garlic, onion, peppercorns, and herbs in a medium pot. Bring that to a bubble, then quick-cool it by adding a cup or two of ice (you need a total of 4 cups of brine to cover the pork). Once the brine is cold, combine the pork and brine in a resealable plastic bag and let it marinate overnight in the fridge.
Next day, take the pork out and pat it dry. (Discard the brine.) Thinly slice the pork crosswise and pound the slices to 1/8-inch thick.
Line up 3 shallow bowls on the counter: Spread out the flour in one, beat the eggs in the second, and mix together the panko, thyme, parsley, lemon zest, and a few gratings of nutmeg in the third. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Coat the pork in the flour, then in egg, and finally in the panko mix, pressing to make sure the coating sticks.
Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cutlets two at a time and fry, turning once, until deep golden and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. (As you work, transfer the schnitzels to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm.)