Make This Tonight: Crisp Pork Cutlets with Citrus Salsa Verde

August 7, 2012

Crisp Pork Cutlets with Citrus Salsa Verde
Photo by Joseph De Leo; styled by Mariya Yufest

Literally "green sauce," Italian salsa verde (not to be confused with Mexican salsa verde made of tomatillos and chiles) is a hand-chopped herbaceous condiment for meat or fish that typically includes parsley, wine vinegar, garlic, anchovies, capers and olive oil. Popular in the Piedmont region of Italy, salsa verde may also include mustard, fresh breadcrumbs soaked in vinegar, or crushed dried chiles. 

Rarely does it include citrus and olives, as is the case here. But why shouldn't it? Citrus is as at home with these green fellows as red pepper flakes and garlic; olives offer arguably more depth of flavor than run-of-the-mill capers, especially the fruity Lucques olives called for here, which are reminiscent of avocado. Presented coarsely chopped, the olives teeter the sauce on salad territory (albeit, an overdressed salad). Indeed, a sauce that is generous with texture and flavor is exactly what is needed to stand up to the strut-worthy crunch of the panko-coated pork cutlets.

Note: Meyer lemons and blood oranges are at their peak season in winter (shame, shame, we know, but the recipe also calls for sweet summer basil!), so swap standard lemons and oranges (or pink-fleshed Cara Cara oranges) for them until the frost is underway. We're sure you understand why we couldn't wait that long to set this dish out for dinner.

Crisp Pork Cutlets with Citrus Salsa Verde by gingerroot

Serves 2-4 (easily doubled)

For the Citrus Salsa Verde:

1-2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 anchovy fillet, chopped
6 Lucques olives, pitted, chopped for 2T + 1 t – can substitute Picholine (if using Picholine, may need a few more)
1/2 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup packed sweet basil leaves (I used 12)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon blood orange juice
1 teaspoon blood orange zest
1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Squeeze of 1 wedge of Meyer lemon (scant 1 tablespoon)
Sea salt to taste (start with just a tiny pinch)

For the Crisp Pork Cutlets:

1 to 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin, sliced at a slight diagonal into 3/4-inch medallions (8-12 pieces, depending on the size of tenderloin)
1/3 cup flour, plus more if necessary
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon blood orange zest
1/2 cup panko, plus more if necessary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

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Wine Pairings:

Friulano would be a great choice here, as would a dry Riesling. Both have citrus and herbal flavors, as well as heft and acidity to be strong and balanced enough for rich food like fried pork. If those wines are not your style, stick to cooler climate whites or grab a sparkler that is Chardonnay dominant. 

Top Picks

2009 Marco Felluga Collio Friulano, Italy
2010 Schloss Gobelsburg "Gobelsburger" Riesling, Austria

Jake Rosenbarger

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Have you ever made Italian salsa verde? What ingredients are essential to your recipe? Share your cooking tips and serving suggestions in the comments section below.

Like this post? See the Make This Tonight topic from last week: Mediterranean Pita Sandwich.

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