Pork Scaloppine with Mushroom-Caper Sauce is a meal that lends itself well to weeknight cooking. Pork tenderloin slices are pounded thin into cutlets, breaded, and quickly sautéed. Then butter and the crispy bits left in the skillet become the base of a delectable pan sauce.
Last week was a drag. I was unrelentingly busy with projects for several clients, often working from early in the morning until late at night. My website crashed. I didn’t exercise. Even worse, I didn’t do any grocery shopping or meal planning.
Although these are usually the times when I rely on the Pantry Raid strategy of the Flipped-Out Food Playbook, my pantry had already been raided several times and was embarrassingly bare. Twice, either Phil or I ran out to the local grocery for last-minute dinner supplies. I absolutely hate that. I felt out-of-control and overwhelmed.
You know what I hate even more? On Thursday night, we ordered carry-out Chinese food.
I’m telling you, people, it was downright kryptonite to my mojo. I thought, “This is exactly the reason that I launched Flipped-Out Food in the first place: what am I doing?!”
Although this week is shaping up to be much the same crazy-busy-wise, I have taken a deep breath and talked myself down off the “McDonald’s-Run! (p.s., I’m USELESS!)” ledge. Specifically, I’ve re-stocked my pantry and reminded myself of my favorite lightning-quick strategies.
Sautéeing thin meat cutlets and making an accompanying pan sauce is right at the top of that list—thus, Pork Scaloppine with Mushroom-Caper Sauce.
I am fully aware that some people will look at this recipe and immediately think of schnitzel: my understanding is that they’re geographical variants of the same thing. I’ve had a bit more Italian influence in my cooking than German, so I tend to think of it as scaloppine. Of course, traditional scaloppine is made with veal (schnitzel is typically pork), but you can use pretty much whatever you want. I love the taste of pork for this dish—I’m a big fan of the economical “other white meat”.
Pork Scaloppine: work-ahead and organization
Let me back up a tiny bit. Pork Scaloppine is easy to make on a weeknight if you do some prep ahead of time and if you arrange your ingredients in a logical, organized way.
Work that can be done in advance for making pork scaloppine includes trimming, slicing, and pounding out the pork cutlets, slicing the mushrooms, mincing the shallots, and mincing the capers. I do these steps either the night before or early that morning. To make the pork cutlets, I lay individual slices of pork tenderloin on a piece of plastic wrap, cover them with another piece of plastic wrap, and pound them out to ~1/4″ thick. When I’m done with that step, I put all of the cutlets on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until I’m ready to start cooking.
Ingredient organization for pork scaloppine refers mostly to the setup of the pork-coating stations. You want to set out your 1) dish of pounded pork next to 2) a shallow dish of flour (seasoned with salt and pepper), which should be next to 3) a shallow dish with the egg wash, which should be next to 4) a shallow dish with the breadcrumbs, which should be next to 5) a plate or cutting board where you’ll set your coated pork before it hits the skillet. I also like to set the shallots, mushrooms, capers, and wine within easy reach of the stove.
Sautéing the Pork Scaloppine
Since we can’t sauté all of the pork cutlets at once, I like to preheat my oven to ~170°F (low!) and line a baking sheet with a layer of paper towels. I set that into the oven. I sauté the pork cutlets in olive oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. As my pork cutlets finish their sauté, I transfer them onto the paper-towel-lined baking sheet. I continue on to the next batch of pork cutlets, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.
When the bottom of the baking sheet is covered with a layer of pork scaloppine cutlets, I cover them with another layer of paper toweling and lay additional pork cutlets on top. The paper toweling soaks up any additional fat from the pan and keeps the breading on the pork scaloppine from getting soggy.
Pork Scaloppine: the pan sauce
When the pork cutlets have all been sautéed, I’m left with the delightful crispy bits in the bottom of the skillet and TONS of flavor: perfect for an easy pan sauce. I drain off all but ~1 tbsp. of the olive oil and add some butter to the pan. Then I toss in my mushrooms and shallots, letting them sauté until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and turned golden-brown. About halfway through that process, I add in the capers. Then I turn the heat up to high and add some wine and beef broth, stirring frequently until the liquid is reduced by half.
At this point, I have choices. I could add in some heavy cream and let the mixture boil until it’s a bit thicker, or I could add in a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a teaspoon of beef broth. I usually go the latter route, since it’s a bit lower on calories, but I assure you that it—like the cream sauce—is really, really yummy…just slightly less decadent. I spoon this delightful mixture over the pork cutlets and serve.
Serving the Pork Scallopine
I always sprinkle the finished dish with some finely minced parsley just before serving. I also like to squeeze a bit of lemon on top, so I serve with lemon wedges on the side. My preference is to serve Pork Scaloppine with linguine or spaghetti (I toss it in any remaining pan sauce clinging to the skillet), but you could serve it over rice, mashed potatoes, puréed cauliflower, polenta–whatever floats your boat.
You could, of course, go the German route and serve it with spaetzle—in which case, you had probably better call it schnitzel.
- 1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and sliced into twelve ¾"-thick pieces
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 2 tbsp. milk or water
- 1½ cups Panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 tbsp. capers (non-pareil), drained and minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup beef broth, plus 2 additional teaspoons (optional, see Note)*
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch (optional, see Note)*
- ¾ cup heavy cream (optional, see Note)*
- ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
- lemon wedges, for serving
- Place each of the pork pieces between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and set onto a flat work surface. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork pieces to ~1/4" thick. Set aside.
- Add the flour to a shallow baking dish and mix in ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper.
- Mix the whisked eggs with the milk or water in a shallow baking dish.
- Add the Panko breadcrumbs to a shallow baking dish.
- For each pork cutlet, 1) dredge both sides in the flour, pressing into the meat and shaking off the excess; 2) dip both sides in the egg mixture; 3) press both sides into the Panko breadcrumbs; and 4) set aside on a plate or cutting board.
- Preheat oven to ~170°–200°F. Line a baking sheet with a layer of paper towels; set into the oven. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add pork cutlets, working in batches to keep from overcrowding the pan. Fry until golden-brown on both sides, about 2–3 minutes per side; transfer onto the paper-towel-lined baking sheet in the oven. Repeat until all pork cutlets are browned, layering as necessary with additional paper toweling.
- Remove all but 1 tbsp. of olive oil from the skillet (don't wash it!). Place the skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter, shallots, and mushrooms. Sauté until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and turned golden-brown, about 8-10 minutes (add the capers to the skillet after 6 minutes).
- Turn the heat to high and add the wine and beef broth, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce the liquid by half. Decide which thickening method you will use (see Note). Option 1: mix the cornstarch with the 2 tsp. beef broth and add to the skillet, stirring and boiling until the sauce has thickened slightly. Option 2: add the heavy cream to the skillet and boil gently until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Serve the pork scaloppine topped with the mushroom-caper sauce and a sprinkling of parsley, with lemon wedges on the side.
WORK AHEAD: pounding out the pork, slicing the mushrooms, and mincing the shallots and capers can all be done in advance (I usually do this the night before or early that morning).
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