"Remember minute steaks?" David Tanis asked as he recently prepped pork loin to show us how quickly this dish comes together. "That, and better-tasting pork, is what inspired this."
The part-time head chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., has been promoting his latest cookbook at Williams-Sonoma stores across the country. This recipe is a good example of why his book was at the top of our 2010 cookbook gift list (and others' lists as well).
The 56-year-old Dayton, Ohio, native keeps things simple in the kitchen: "All I need is fire, water and a sharp knife," he says. "For this book, I was determined to keep the food user-friendly." He's not keen on using immersion (stick) blenders or food processors.
You could get your butcher to cut the scaloppine, but Tanis proved it's easy to do, and he prefers to leave a thin layer of fat on the edge of the slices, for flavor. The sauce is a classic, traditional combination of capers, lemon and parsley; the peppery bite of arugula completes the dish.
His Fennel Soup With a Green Swirl comes together almost as fast and is just as delicious; you'll find that recipe in our database online and featured in today's All We Can Eat Blog.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 1 pound boneless pork loin (leave on a thin layer of fat)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for optional drizzling on the arugula
- Leaves from 4 to 6 stems flat-leaf parsley
- 2 medium lemons
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 8 ounces arugula or baby arugula leaves (may add watercress, if desired)
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Cut the pork into 8 to 12 very thin slices (slightly thinner than 1/4 inch). As you work, use your hand to sightly flatten each piece on the cutting board. Season both sides with salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil over the pork to coat it all over.
Finely chop the parsley leaves. Finely grate the zest of 1 lemon to yield 2 teaspoons. Drain and coarsely chop the capers. Finely chop the garlic. Wash and dry the arugula (and watercress, if desired), then coarsely chop it. Cut the lemons into wedges.
When the skillet is quite hot, arrange about 6 slices of pork in the bottom of the skillet; the sizzle will be immediate. Cook for about 2 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn them over and cook for 2 minutes on the second side. Transfer to a platter, arranging the slices for serving. Add the remaining slices and repeat the process.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the parsley, lemon zest, capers and garlic. Let the mixture cook undisturbed for 1 minute; it should sizzle. Remove from the heat.
Pour evenly over the pork scaloppine. Top with the chopped arugula; drizzle the leaves with oil, if desired. Garnish the platter with the lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
Adapted from David Tanis’s “Heart of the Artichoke” (Artisan, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.