Pork and Pickled Pepper Piccata

SERVES: 4

Pickled peppers and their brine take the place of capers and white wine in this brinier take on a classic. I like to make it with pounded pork cutlets because who doesn’t love pork and pickles, but chicken cutlets would also rock!!!!

Active Time: 1 hr, 25 mins

Total Time: 1 hr, 25 mins

Screenshot 2024-03-15 at 10.19.19 AM

Produce

  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 packed cup parsley leaves
  • 1 lemon

Pantry

  • ½ cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup mixed pickled peppers in brine (divided)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Dairy

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided

Protein

  • 2 (1” thick) boneless pork chops (about 16 oz total)

1. Do some prep:

  • Crush ½ cup raw walnuts with the bottom of a heavy pot or pan. Set aside and clear your cutting board.
  • Peel and thinly slice 6 garlic cloves and 1 large shallot. Set a small handful of the sliced shallots aside in a medium bowl (they’ll become a salady topper later on).
  • Pick the leaves of a bunch of parsley until you’ve got about 1 packed cup of leaves. Add half of the leaves to the bowl of shallot. And coarsely chop the rest of the parsley (this will get stirred into the sauce).
  • Cut 1 lemon in half.
  • Finely chop ½ cup sliced pickled peppers (whatever kind you are using).

2. Prep the pork:

  • Cut two 1” thick boneless pork chops in half, creating two thinner cutlets out of each. In total you should then have four pork cutlets, each about ½” inch thick. Place a piece of parchment on your cutting board. Working one at a time, add a cutlet, top with another piece of parchment, and then pound out evenly, using either a meat mallet or a heavy cast iron skillet or wine bottle, until the cutlet is around 1/4” thick. Repeat with all.
  • Season the pounded cutlets all over with salt and pepper.
  • Place 1 cup all-purpose flour in a medium bowl, one at a time, dredge each cutlet in the flour covering it entirely, and then shake off any excess flour before transferring to a baking sheet or large plate.

3. Start cooking:

  • Combine ¼ cup olive oil and the crushed walnuts in a large skillet. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the walnuts are deep golden, 6-9 minutes depending on the type of skillet you are using. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the nuts to the bowl of parsley and shallots, leaving behind the oil. Tip out most of the excess oil, leaving just a tablespoon-ish.
  • Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and swirl to melt. Still over medium heat, add the pork cutlets, as many as can fit comfortably at once while still making contact with the skillet. Cook, undisturbed until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Flip the cutlets and cook 30 seconds on the second side –it’s important not to leave them too long on the second side so the pork doesn't dry out. It’s okay if the bottom side isn’t as brown and crisp, we’ve got lots of that on the top. Transfer the pork to a plate and repeat with the remaining cutlets. Note: the second round will cook faster due to the skillet being hotter!
  • Once all the cutlets are safely removed, add the sliced shallots, sliced garlic, and chopped pepperoncini to the skillet with a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is softened and fragrant and not quite brown at the edges, 1-2 minutes.
  • Add ⅓ cup of brine from the pickled pepper jar, as well as ½ cup water, stirring to scrape up the bits that are sticking. The mixture should come to a simmer pretty quickly since the skillet is so hot. Once it simmers, add 4 more tablespoons of butter and cook, shaking and swirling the pan until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted into the liquid, return the cutlets to the pan and continue to cook (you can turn the heat up a bit if it's not simmering rapidly), until the sauce is thick and glossy, turning the cutlets once or twice to coat them in the sauce. Remove from the heat; stir in the remaining chopped parsley.

4. Finish:

  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pan and shake again. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Add a pinch of salt and the remaining juice from the other lemon half to the bowl of parsley, shallots, and walnuts and toss lightly to coat. Add a handful more of sliced pickled peppers to the salad and then scatter the pepper parsley salad over the pork in the skillet. Serve hot!

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