Pork Cutlet Sammich

I made this sammich somewhere around the middle to end of last week when I was feeling better and craving “real food”.

By real, I am referring to something that isn’t in a mostly liquid form used to help replenish electrolytes and is easy on the tummy to digest. After awhile, consuming nothing but Gatorade, Coconut Water, salted crackers (occassionally toast) and bowlfuls of joak gets kind of depressing.

As much as I like joak, when you’re sick & seriously unwell, you just wanna be able to chew and have something with flavour.

Enter pork cutlet, stage left.

I was spending most of my days either bed or sofa-bound with two heating pads (one on my tummy and one under my back for my kidneys) and more often than not my iPad with digital magazines & Youtube videos to occupy my time.

I discovered that Martha Stewart Everyday Food has a Youtube channel that shows quick meals once a week. The videos are at most five or so minutes long and they’re pretty quick recipes. One of them was this pork cutlet sammich. Yea, while I was down & out with food poisoning and my insides were feeling still rather touchy at best, I made myself a pork sammich. It was really, really, really good. OH. MY. GAWD. GOOD.

The recipe is actually not all that different from fave pork katsu & risotto recipe that I make for The Hubbs. In fact, the only difference is that there’s no thyme or sage in the breading. To take it totally over the top, I used a thin, toasted slice of Charlesford, my homemade picante sauce from last summer and melted mozzarella. Admittedly, the sammich could have used the requisite greens to freshen it up just a smidge, but otherwise, it’s a damn good & satisfying sammich.

Not only that, but I swear, it took me less than 20 minutes, start to finish to make these sammiches, and that was with me feeling less than stellar. There’s not all that much more I can say about it other than: Make it.

Pork Cutlet Sammich

1/4 cup flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko
salt & pepper
4 pork cutlets
olive oil
shredded mozzarella
bread of your choice
1 cup picante sauce
arugula (optional)

Place flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate shallow dishes.
Season flour and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.
Coat pork in flour, shaking off excess, dip in egg, then coat with breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere.
Set pork aside.
Heat broiler.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high.
Cook pork until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Line rack with paper towels.
Transfer pork to towels and let drain 1 minute.
Top pork with cheese, place on sheet, and broil until cheese is melted, 1 minute.
Divide among bread and top with picante sauce and arugula, if using.

What to eat for lunch when you’re stuck at home worrying…

…Sardines with avocado on toast.

I am rather surprised at how awesome this really does taste. I like sardines, but I tend to find them very mooshy and bland, which to me, isn’t really good eats. I was watching an episode of Good Eats last night and this is the recipe that I picked up with a couple of changes because of what I had in the pantry.

Sardines with Avocado on Toast

2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 avocado, halved
1 can of water-packed sardines, drained
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
dried parsley
lemon pepper
lime juice
fleur de sel
fresh pepper

Toast two slices of bread until they’re nice and dark brown.
Meanwhile, add olive oil, vinegar, parsley, lemon pepper and some lime juice to a bowl and mix well.
Gently add the sardines and toss to coat in marinade. Leave for a few minutes to marinate.
When toast is done, drizzle olive oil over top of each slice.
Top each slice of bread with 1/2 an avocado, mashing gently to cover the whole slice of bread.
Spread the avocado with 1/2 the sardines per slice of bread and gently mash to cover the whole slice.
Dribble a few drops of lime juice over each open-faced sandwich and sprinkle generously with fleur de sel and grindings of fresh pepper.
Serve with a big bottle of lemon water.

Oh wow…

Just. Wow.

I like a good sandwich, but sometimes it’s hard to attain that lofty goal. As simple as a sandwich can be, making a perfect one can be pretty hard to come by.

Since SALLY came along, my mouth has become incredibly sensitive to hard, scratchy foods like potato chips, crackers and even toast.

Once, long ago, I worked in a little sandwich stop and learned how to make (in my mind) the ultimate sandwich — really any sandwich, but assembly is key. All the options were in front of me, I just had to take an order and assemble it. There were all the condiments you could ask for, assorted meats and cheeses, all the veggies you could combine to your heart’s content, plus a decent selection of bread choices.

For the longest time I was making these fantastic sandwiches for my brothers, cuz they’re awesome and happen to be boys with bottomless pits for stomachs, so I could also experiement with different sandwich combinations. Really, what it boils down to is how a sandwich is assembled and layering things in a proper order. That last part could just be a minor bit of OCD on my part.

Anyhow, having said all that, I think I have made an awesome sandwich that sort of gets around my sore-mouth issue. It still causes some discomfort to eat but it doesn’t hurt nearly as badly as when I eat a grilled cheese sandwich straight up.

Last night I was reading the recipe for How to Make The Ultimate Patty Melt on the Serious Eats website and one point just popped right out at me that made so much sense: toast the inner-facing side of each slice of bread in butter before you construct the sandwich. Not only does this warm the bread, giving the cheese a jumpstart on melting and ensuring that the two fuse firmly, but it also gives you an opportunity to incorporate more butter to the melt.

For a grilled cheese, I will definitely be employing that technique, but for now that’s far too much crispy-action going on for my poor mouth. So what did I realize instead? A ciabatta sandwich, soft and warm on the outside, paired with a crispy and melty cheesed inside, would make for an absolutely fantastic sandwich concept. The texture alone is mind boggling. As a side thought: I’m not a fan of panini sandwiches for some reason, they just don’t do it for me and I find that there’s something just not right about squishing something til it’s flat and dead. But this idea, I can certainly get my brain and tastebuds around.

So here’s what ya do:

Perfect Ciabatta Sandwich
* Get yourself a chunk of ciabatta and slice it horizontally so you get a top piece and a bottom.
* Butter the inside of both pieces generously and place them face down in a cold frying pan.
* Turn on the heat to medium and let them do their thing in their own sweet time until the bread is wonderfully crispy and golden brown.
* Remove the pieces of bread from the frying pan to a chopping board.
* Top each piece of bread with slices of cheese and throw them under the broiler until properly gooey & melty.
* Remove from broiler and top each piece of bread with your chosen deli meat before combining the two pieces of bread into sandwich form.
* You will now notice that your bread is perfectly soft & warm and when you bite into the sandwich, it’s perfectly hot and crisp. It’s almost as if you had potato chips hiding out in the middle of your sandwich, giving you that awesome textural contrast.