Crispy Cutlets with Giardiniera Slaw

SERVES: 4

There’s a reason you often see a crispy breaded cutlet served with something cold, crunchy, or refreshing alongside, and that’s because it’s exactly what the doctor ordered. In this case, that cold, crunchy element is a slaw. This one features savoy cabbage, jarred pickled giardiniera (a current obsession), and lots of crunchy almonds and Parmesan cheese. Frankly, I think the slaw steals the show, but the pork cutlets ain’t half bad either! If you’re more of a chicken lover yourself, use chicken breast cutlets instead of pork.

Screenshot 2023-10-13 at 11.48.11 AM

Produce

  •  1⁄2 large savoy cabbage
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch of mint and/or basil
  • 1 lemon

Pantry

  • 2 (16-ounce) jars giardiniera pickles in brine
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more as needed
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 big handfuls of roasted almonds (about 5 ounces)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Flaky sea salt

Protein

  • 4 (6-ounce) slices pork shoulder steaks, cut 1⁄2 inch thick
  • 2 large eggs

1. Start the Slaw:

  • Halve and core 1⁄2 large savoy cabbage. Halve 1 small red onion. Thinly slice both and add to a large bowl.
  • Drain 2 (16-ounce) jars giardiniera, reserving about 1⁄4 cup of the brine. Roughly chop the giardiniera and add it to the bowl, along with 1⁄4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons of the giardiniera brine, and 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicier!). Season with kosher salt.
  • Chop 2 big handfuls of roasted almonds.

2. Prep the Meat:

  • Spread out a 14-inch piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place a second piece slightly overlapping the first to make a double-wide work surface.
  • Place a 6-ounce slice of pork shoulder on top of the plastic wrap. Cover with another 2 pieces of plastic wrap and, using a meat mallet or heavy skillet, pound the pork into a thin 1⁄4-inch-thick cutlet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of pork.
  • Season the cutlets with kosher salt and pepper.

3. Dredge and Fry the meat:

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Fill a wide, deep saucepan with enough vegetable oil to reach a depth of 1⁄2 inch and heat over medium heat.
  • In a pie plate or shallow bowl, whisk together, 2 eggs, 2 finely grated garlic cloves, and a couple big tablespoons of mayonnaise. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • In another pie plate or shallow dish, place 2 cups panko bread crumbs. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Dunk one pork cutlet into the egg mixture and turn to coat. Transfer to the panko and flip, pressing to adhere the bread crumbs, until thoroughly coated. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets.
  • Raise the heat under the skillet to medium-high. Drop a pinch of panko into the oil. If it begins to sizzle with gusto, the oil is ready. If not, wait until it does.
  • Carefully slide a cutlet into the oil. Fry until deeply golden and crisp on the underside, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to fry, basting the top with oil if there are any areas that didn’t get as much color, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the rack. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.

4. Finish the slaw and plate It up:

  • Add 3 ounces of grated Parm and the chopped almonds to the slaw. Tear the leaves from 1 bunch of mint and/or basil and add them to the bowl. Toss to combine.
  • Season to taste with vinegar, remaining giardiniera brine, olive oil, and/or grated cheese. Every giardiniera mix is different! The slaw should be super bright and punchy, balanced with a nice roundness from the olive oil and cheese.
  • Cut 1 lemon into wedges. Top the cutlets with flaky sea salt and serve with the lemon
    wedges and slaw.

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