Recipe of the Week: Pork schnitzel with cucumber and avocado ranch
Schnitzel isn't a dish you find on many restaurant menus these days, but you'll find it at the home of Sarah and Evan Rich, who own the Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant Rich Table. The Riches recently published a cookbook, "Rich Table," filled with dishes they cook at home, and the foods are a wonderful mash-up of haute cuisine and home cooking.
For instance, instead of serving this dish with green goddess dressing, one of the quintessential classics of California fine dining, they opt for avocado ranch, while the vinaigrette that dresses the salad calls shiro dashi, a Japanese soup base that you can find in Asian supermarkets. You could use rice wine vinegar if you can't find the shiro dashi, or you could serve the schnitzel with the avocado ranch as the lone dressing for the salad and cucumbers.
The thickness of the pork chop will significantly change how much time it takes to cook, so if you're using the thinner boneless pork chops found in most grocery stores, you'll need to cook it for less time than the recipe calls for. Use a meat thermometer if you're not sure when it's done. The internal temperature should read 145 degrees.
Pork Schnitzel with Cucumber and Avocado Ranch
Despite the delicious meat and even more delicious ranch dressing, it’s the lettuce cucumber salad that really makes this dish. Depending on the size of the avocado, you may need to add more buttermilk to thin the dressing. You want it to have the consistency of, well, ranch — thick but drizzleable. Any extra will of course make an excellent dip, sandwich spread, or salad topper. You can also eat it on pizza.
— Evan and Sarah Rich
For the avocado ranch:
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more as needed
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup chopped fresh chervil or equal parts additional dill, parsley, and tarragon
1 garlic clove, minced
For the schnitzel:
4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Few handfuls Little Gem lettuce leaves, or other small, crunchy lettuce
1 small Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
1 small lemon cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon shiro vinaigrette, plus more as needed
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
4 lemon wedges, for garnish
To make the avocado ranch: In a food processor, process the avocado, egg yolk and vinegar until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil through the feed tube until the mixture turns thick and creamy. Add the buttermilk, dill, parsley, tarragon, chervil and garlic and process until combined. Add additional buttermilk as needed to thin the mixture to a thick but drizzleable consistency. Season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve, or for up to 3 days.
To make the pork schnitzel: Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place a cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet, and place both in the oven.
Working with one pork chop at a time, place the chop in between two sheets of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Use a meat pounder or the side of a rolling pin to pound the meat of the pork chop until it is between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Leave the bone intact. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork chops. Season lightly with salt.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Crack the eggs into a second shallow bowl and beat to combine. Place the panko in a third shallow bowl. Working with one pork chop at a time, coat each chop with the flour, then egg, then panko. Press firmly on the panko so that it adheres to the chop. Transfer to a plate.
In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat about 1 inch vegetable oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat. Add one pork chop. It should immediately sizzle. Cook on both sides, basting the chop with hot oil, until the panko is deeply golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork chop to the rack on the baking sheet in the oven. Repeat with the remaining pork chops. Keep warm.
To assemble and serve: In a large bowl, toss the lettuce leaves and cucumber slices with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and additional vinaigrette, if desired.
Place one pork chop in the center of each serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a generous amount of the avocado ranch. Top with a handful of the dressed lettuce leaves and cucumber slices. Garnish with the chives and lemon wedges. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon shiro dashi
1 tablespoon finely diced shallots
In a 2-cup glass jar, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, shiro dashi and shallots. Cover the jar with its lid and shake to emulsify the mixture. Season with salt. (The vinaigrette can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week.) Makes 1 cup vinaigrette.
— From "Rich Table" by Sarah and Evan Rich (Chronicle Books, $35)