Pork Cutlets With Pickled Pearl Onions And Pancetta Recipe

Editor's Note: Since I got my hands on Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton's latest Canal House cookbook, my wife and I have been cooking our way through it, with staggeringly great results. Food Republic is proud to feature a few of the recipes from the just-released book, starting with this pork cutlets dish. — R.M.

Sometimes we make a triple batch of these pickled onions—they're so simple and so very good. At the end of the day we add them to a gin Gibson (exactly like a martini, with an onion in place of an olive), or serve them as a condiment with fried chicken or even seared flank steak. Their piquant flavor brightens any rich food.

We first had pork cooked this way at Alice Waters' house. Alice and artist Patricia Curtan were cooking lunch for us. They sliced thick cutlets from a pork loin, gave them a flattening pound, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and quickly seared them in a hot skillet. Of course, everything they do is just right. Pork used to be much more marbled, but now that it is "the other white meat," this lean cut needs to be cooked more like a chicken breast.

Pork Cutlets With Pickled Pearl Onions And Pancetta Recipe
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  • 8 ounces white or yellow pearl onions
  • salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 boneless pork loin cutlets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup pancetta
  1. Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pearl onions and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the onions. When they are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut off the root end, then pop the onions out of their skins. Put the peeled onions into a pint canning jar and season with a generous pinch of salt. Tuck the bay leaves and peppercorns into the jar and add enough vinegar to cover the onions. Screw on the lid and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using.
  3. Use a flat-bottomed meat pounder on a sturdy work surface and pound each cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap to ½-inch thickness. Take care not to tear the meat.
  4. Discard the plastic wrap. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a small plate and set aside. Leave the oil in the skillet.
  6. Increase the heat to medium-high and, working in batches, fry the cutlets until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Drain the pickled onions and add to the skillet.
  7. Cook until warmed through, 1–2 minutes, then add the pancetta. To serve, spoon the onions and pancetta over the cutlets.
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