Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Minty Eggplant Relish

TT Tip: Slender Italian eggplants have fewer bitter  seeds than their larger globe cousins, making salting the eggplant before cooking a step you can skip (if substituting globe eggplant, salt them in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes prior to cooking).

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets With Minty Eggplant Relish
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Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Minty Eggplant Relish
Servings
6
servings
Ingredients
  • Pork
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1¾ pounds center-cut pork loin, extra fat removed, sliced into 6 equal-size pieces
  • 3 slices white sandwich bread
  • ¼ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup finely grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ to ½ cup grapeseed or canola oil, divided
  • Relish
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 Italian eggplants (about 1½ pounds), ends trimmed and chopped into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tomatoes--cored, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Directions
  1. Marinate the pork: In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic and salt. Add the pork cutlets and turn to coat in the garlic-oil mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Make the relish: In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat until the oil shimmers, 1 to 1½ minutes. Add half of the eggplant and cook, stirring often, until browned on all sides and tender, reducing the heat to medium if necessary so the eggplant doesn't burn, 4 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggplant to a large bowl and set aside. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and eggplant. After transferring the second batch of eggplant to the bowl, season with ½ teaspoon salt, the coriander, black pepper, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. Add the tomatoes and mint, stir to combine and set aside at room temperature. (The relish can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours before serving.) 3. Roughly tear the bread slices and place in a food processor. Pulse until the bread is fine, about eight 1-second pulses. Add the panko and Pecorino cheese and pulse twice more to combine. Turn the breadcrumb mixture into a pie plate or shallow baking dish.
  3. Lightly beat the egg in a medium bowl. Remove a pork cutlet from the marinade, dip both sides into the beaten egg and press the cutlet into the bread crumb mixture, making sure the breadcrumbs adhere in an even layer to both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat, add ⅓ cup of the grapeseed or canola oil and heat until it shimmers, about 2 minutes. Add the pork cutlets (you may need to work in batches depending on the size of your pan) and fry until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Use a metal spatula to turn the cutlets over and cook the other side until browned and the pork resists light pressure (but isn't rock-hard), 2 to 3 minutes longer, adding more oil if needed. Use the metal spatula to transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Taste the relish and adjust with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt if needed. Serve over the pork cutlets.
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