I know a lot of people don't eat pork. I can respect that choice whether it be for religious, cultural, or health reasons (or those of a family friend who just thinks pigs are too smart to be used for food) but I don't know that I'll ever really understand it. In the meat version of the Desert Island game my answer will always be the same: pork. From bacon and pancetta, to ribs and tenderloin, pork can be so easily transformed I could eat it for the rest of my life without getting bored. "The other white meat" is quite simply, to me, the only white meat (chicken has been done so poorly so frequently that the very idea of a skinless boneless breast has put me off poultry. Duck, you are not included in that sentiment).
I try not to buy too many cookbooks and food magazines. Recipes are so rampant on the internet (thank you, Epicurious.com) that more often than not they just feel like a waste of money. Donna Hay Magazine is the exception. Photography worthy of a coffee table cookbook and accessible, doable recipes make it easily worth it's $10.00 price tag. If you can get your hands on the 50th Issue Birthday edition, I highly recommend buying it. So far, I've made the Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting (ridiculously good), the Pork, Apple, and Thyme Meatballs (deliciously sweet and spicy), and the Pork Cutlets with Spiced Butter. I'm still cooking my way through the 16 page, 12 recipe Pork section (complete with a breakdown of cuts).
The beautiful thing about the Pork Cutlets is how wonderfully easy and simple they are. They let the pork taste like pork. Because of this, quality, ethically raised meat is crucial (I get mine from Rowe Farms). The chops are pan fried and topped with the delicious herbed butter (we used the leftovers on pasta and some grass-fed beef). The butter really couldn't be easier - through everything in a food processor, give it a whirl, then add the butter and whiz for a few seconds more. The leftover butter freezes well, too (freezing in an ice cube tray then storing in an airtight container lets you use just what you need later on).
Pair it with some brown rice and something green (green beans, steamed broccoli, sauteed spinach) and you have a perfect weeknight dinner. Thank you, Donna Hay!
Pork Cutlets with Spiced Butter
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine - 50th Issue Birthday Edition
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (I used Sriracha, my all-chili substitute of choice)
salt & pepper
100g softened butter
6 x 180g pork cutlets, trimmed
olive oil, for drizzling
Roughly chop the onions, coriander leaves & seeds, mint, garlic, paprika, chili, and salt and pepper in a food processor. Add the butter and process until combined using short bursts.
Season the pork and drizzle with olive oil. Cook in a hot pan over medium heat until done, 4-5 minutes per side. Top the pork with butter and serve.