Do you brine? If not, you’re crazy. It’s a surefire way to guarantee that proteins like chicken and pork, which have a nasty habit of becoming dry, stay juicy and flavorful. As an added bonus, it’s the ultimate time saver. Instead of reaching for a marinade reach for salt, sugar and water instead.
Brining works on two basic scientific principles: diffusion and osmosis. Diffusion, to people like you and me, means to spread something widely, like diffusing a tense situation. In that case, you’re easing tension by reducing the concentration of negative feelings. To a scientist it means nearly the same thing, except there are particles involved; it’s the intermingling of particles due to their natural movement. In this case, it’s the particles of sugar, salt, water and whatever other flavors you’ve chosen to use in your brine. For a beautiful explanation of how brining works, check out my post from a year ago.
- pork cutlets
- fresh herbs (optional)
- warm water
- Swiss chard
- baby onions
- panko breadcrumbs
- all purpose flour
- olive oil
- 1/3 cup white or rosé wine
- 1 egg, beaten
- cayenne pepper
Make your brine! Fill a large plastic bag with equal parts sugar and salt. Add in washed fresh herbs (I like oregano, Italian parsley and rosemary). Add warm water from your faucet. Let dissolve. Add pork cutlets. Brine several hours or overnight.
Note: Brining is a great thing to do if in the morning or the night before a meal.
Wash and chop your Swiss chard and your baby onion. I like to remove the ribs from my chard unless they’re very tender or young shoots.
In a deep saucepan heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add baby onion and some salt. After about 3 minutes add your chopped chard. After about 4 minutes, add about 1/3 cup of wine. Cover and let cook on low heat for about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, set up your flour, egg wash and panko breadcrumbs stations. The key to making this work is to season every step. I add dry seasonings to flour (coriander, paprika, pepper and salt). I add wet seasonings to the egg (Worcestershire and sriracha). I only add olive oil or vegetable oil to the panko.
Your pork has brined for the appropriate amount of time, right? Shake of excess moisture, pat dry. This is important; if you don’t the breading won’t stick to the pork after you fry it. Dredge in flour, then egg wash, and press into the panko to make a crust. Fry for 4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown. Place on paper towel to soak up excess grease.
Serve the fried pork cutlets and braised Swiss chard together. I like mine with a bit of sriracha!
Sorry, no photos. Everything disappeared into our bellies too quickly!