Thursday, September 2, 2010

THIS JUST IN: I love panko!

My experience with panko bread crumbs has been, until recently, extremely limited. It seems that some of the sushi I enjoy is covered in them, but that was really about it. Luckily, this changed fairly recently after Mike's roommate bought some and allowed me to use it to make pork chops. I didn't even document it because I didn't think it'd be all that exciting--just breadcrumb-covered pork chops, right? But they were SO good, and this method is simple and super adaptable. (You could use normal breadcrumbs if you want, too, but it's not as exciting.)

My usual "let's bake some chicken or pork" recipe can be found here (I used to post things on recipezaar before I started this blog). It's really simple and comes out nice and crispy, but I'm glad to be able to change it up once in a while, and for some reason, the panko discovery makes that a lot easier. I guess I'm reluctant to use anything aside from the egg/mustard sauce with normal breadcrumbs, but panko just seems more versatile. The only problem with writing up this recipe is that I'm a terrible judge of how much panko I'll need to cover everything, so I pour some in a bowl and have Mike add more as I need it and I therefore have no idea how much panko I end up using. This method works fine, as long as you know you have enough panko--less than a cup for 3 or 4 pork chops and you'll probably need to get more. (Actually, the same could be said for the sauce, but it's probably closer to half a cup before you need more.)

So, my new pork chops, with two different sauces! Hooray!

RECIPE: Panko-crusted Pork Chops
by me

-3 or 4 pork chops
-about 1/4 cup flour
-at least half a cup of some type of sauce (I have used barbecue sauce and Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce and loved them both; if you want to use something thin [like teriyaki or something] maybe simmer it with some cornstarch to thicken it.)
-at least 1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1. Find three small bowls (like you would eat cereal out of, unless you're one of those people who eats cereal out of a HUGE bowl). Put the flour in one, a decent amount of the sauce (about 1/4 cup) in another, and about 1/2 panko in the third. Spray a baking sheet.
2. Trim as much fat as you can off the pork chops. I find it works best to coat them one at a time, so:
3. Take the first pork chop and dredge it in the flour until it's almost completely white. Then dip it in the sauce and cover it--the amount of sauce you put on it will, of course, determine how strong the sauce's flavor is, so if you want subtle flavor, try to completely cover it with as little sauce as possible, and if you want lots of flavor, see how much sauce you can get to stick to it. (I've tried brushing the sauce on instead of dipping. It didn't work nearly as well and it was a lot messier.) Then put your pork chop in the panko and cover completely. Place the pork chop on the baking sheet.
4. Repeat step 3 with the rest of the pork chops, adding more panko or sauce to the bowl as needed. (It's nice to have someone else to help with this so you don't contaminate the containers with your meat-hands, but if that's not possible, wipe them down with a disinfectant afterward.)
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and then eat! With...sides that are appropriate for the sauce that you used.

This is the time I tried brushing them. It wasn't all that bad, but I prefer the dipping method.

I forgot I used my brownie pan! Works just as well as a cookie sheet, just smaller. But it probably wouldn't work for four pork chops.

Rice pilaf and corn seemed appropriate sides for the BBQ ones.

I thought one picture that showed how they all looked at each stage would be appropriate, even though it was sort of annoying to set up. Keep in mind that when you pick them up to move them to the next bowl, your fingers will remove some of whatever you just covered them with. It's okay, though. (This one's the peanut sauce. Yummy!)

The finished peanut one! Somehow the panko stuck better here, but that's probably my fault. I think we ate corn with it again, because, well, summer. And yaki onigiri, which I'll be posting soon.

Okay, so this is so simple that it seems weird to even have a blog post for it, but I have to talk about why I love it. I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my spare ribs post, but I really don't like barbecue sauce in most situations. (Acceptable uses for barbecue sauce: ribs.) However, this recipe--even with a lot of sauce--comes out with such a subtle flavor that it's wonderful. It doesn't overpower the pork (which is why I usually don't like it), it complements it and allows you to enjoy both flavors. I think the peanut sauce flavor came through a bit more, but it still wasn't overpowering. Pork chops get a bad reputation for some reason, but they really do have an excellent flavor on their own. (I really mean on their own--when Mike makes them, he just tosses them in a frying pan until they're done and browned on both sides. I was skeptical at first, and I usually cover them with pepper, but they're super tasty! And I cover everything with pepper.) So, I love having a way to make them that adds another flavor without destroying the pork's flavor completely, and this is perfect for that. And the panko! It's so different from normal bread crumbs--it won't get soggy and there's way more texture. The flavor's really different, though I'm not quite sure why.

I seem to have failed at both a Friday update AND a Tuesday update. I've been super distracted, trying to enjoy the last two weeks before classes start up again on the 8th. I can't believe it's already September! My birthday's on Saturday, AHHHH! (On the plus side, I get sushi and cake. And probably crayons. Yes, I asked for crayons for my 23rd birthday, what of it?)