While I was growing up, fried pork chops or cutlets were a mainstay of the brown Zojirushi vacuum jug lunchbox I carried around until I was a senior in high school. These would invariably be breaded, seasoned with salt and pepper, and be rather soggy by the time lunchtime rolled around. Definitely not the most appetizing of meals, but it was a lot neater than a bowl, say, of kare-kareng pata or nilagang baka.
Now that I’m working, I usually have lunch at any of a number of nearby restaurants. However, this does not mean that I won’t bring a packed lunch to work every once so often. When I do, it’s usually the previous evening’s leftovers or this particularly nifty spin on those old-school cuts of fried pork.
These are Parmesan-breaded pork cutlets. I like to think of them as tonkatsu with an Italian accident. These are tender pork cutlets dredged in a mix of finely grated Parmesan cheese, panko [Japanese breadcrumbs], dried sage, dried basil, and fresh parsley. Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and savory all over, these are the best things you can pack into your lunchbox. Served on top of hot white rice and sprinkled with a bit of balsamic vinegar, these are quite sublime.
They aren’t only good on rice, but these can also be used for sandwiches. Try a smattering of Japanese Kewpie-brand mayo with lettuce and fresh tomatoes with this in a slab of ciabatta.
Parmesan-breaded pork cutlets
- 1/4 kilo pork cutlets, pounded to about 1/4-inch
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely minced
- salt and pepper
- oil for frying
Combine the panko, cheese, and herbs; set aside. Rub a bit of salt and pepper onto the cutlets. Dredge in flour, dip in egg, and roll in the panko mix until well covered.
Heat the oil in a wok or a deep saucepan. Fry the cutlets until golden. Drain on paper towels before serving.