Recipe: Pork Scallopine with Parsley and Grape Tomato Salad
Whenever I go to an Italian restaurant and crave something luxurious but still want to stick to my low-carb, vegetable-heavy diet, I order scallopine topped with salad. Many restaurants in New York serve versions of it, especially places that like to think of themselves as Tuscan. I’ve had the dish made with a deluxe, bone-in veal chop pounded so thin it’s wider than the plate and then crisp-sautéed and topped with a tangle of raw shaved zucchini; I’ve also had a much humbler version made with a hammered-out chicken breast topped with a little mesclun. The most common version is boneless veal scallopine, breaded and crisp-sautéed and then covered with an arugula and cherry tomato salad. To me just about any variation is alluring. The mix of hot, crispy scallopine with the vinegary sparkle of a cool salad makes for an extremely satisfying dinner.
The dish is very easy to turn out at home too. I like making mine with pork, just for a change, since it stays very juicy when quick-cooked. I leave a tiny amount of fat around the edges, which crisps up nicely. I vary the salad part, depending on my mood. Here I use a big handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley, which I love, and whose flavor I feel is underrated.
I use a small portion of meat, but when I pound it out to cover the entire plate it gives the illusion of a big substantial meal, though in fact the dish is very delicate. It’s really a perfect Italian diet food. Don’t worry about all the olive oil. As you’ll notice, most of it stays in the skillet.
A good wine for this dish is an Italian rosato. One I tasted recently and loved is Cerasuolo Rosato. It’s a deep pink Umbrian wine made from Montepulciano grapes. It’s produced by Castello delle Regine.
Pork Scallopine with Parsley and Grape Tomato Salad
2 1-inch-thick slices boneless pork loin
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup finely ground dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated pecorino Toscana cheese
4 large thyme sprigs, the leaves chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
12 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, stemmed, the leaves left whole (you’ll want about ½ cup)
About 8 chives, chopped
1 small head frisée lettuce, torn into small pieces
A few thyme sprigs, the leaves chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Spanish sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small chunk pecorino Toscana cheese
2 good-size lemon wedges
Butterfly the pork (meaning cut each piece horizontally like a hamburger bun, leaving the two halves attached at one end). Place each butterflied pork piece between two pieces of plastic wrap, and pound it thin with a meat pounder. You’ll want it about 1/8 inch thick. (You can have your butcher do this. Just tell him you’d like two pieces of pork scallopine.) Rub the scallopine on both sides with the tablespoon of mustard.
In a salad bowl, combine the tomatoes, parsley, chives, frisée, and thyme. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Season the scallopine with salt and pepper. Pour the breadcrumbs out onto a plate, add the pecorino and thyme, season with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and mix well. Coat the scallopine in the breadcrumb mixture.
Lay out two warmed dinner plates.
Set up a large skillet over medium high heat. Add about 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and let it get very hot. Add the two scallopine pieces, and sauté without moving them around at all, until browned and crisp on one side, about 3 minutes. Give them a turn, and brown them well on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Lay them out on paper towels to drain for a moment. Place a scallopine on each dinner plate.
Dress the salad with the vinaigrette, and top each scallopine with some salad. Give each serving a few shavings of pecorino, and garnish with the lemon wedges. Serve right away.