Many years ago I tasted traditional Veal Cordon Bleu and I was pleased. Later in life my wife Marie decided veal should be avoided due to the terrible treatment of calves prior to butchering them to obtain veal. I agreed with her yet I missed a variety of tasty meals based on veal. One day I decided to make Weiner Schnitzel using lean pork loin instead of veal and the results were terrific. The pork was far superior to veal in taste, tenderness and moistness. Thus, I realized I could substitute pork for veal in a number of my favorite dishes.
Recently I wanted to make Veal Cordon Bleu using pork so I found a variety of Internet recipes for the traditional veal dish and formed a composite sure to work using pork. I am pleased to report success. Once again, processing lean pork loin or boneless pork chops like veal resulted in a perfect Cordon Bleu. Simply make sure that any fat on the edges of the pork is cut away and discarded. I hope you try and enjoy the recipe below. It is quite good.
With this recipe it is important to have all side dishes for the meal prepared prior to cooking the pork as it is served immediately after cooking. I suggest lightly steamed asparagus or snow peas with melted butter, along with the carbohydrate of your choice (potatoes, rice, couscous, pasta in a light butter/garlic sauce, etc.), and a nice bottle of chilled white wine like Pinot Grigio. You might even like a small tossed salad with creamy French or Italian dressing with this meal, and a light dessert, like a fruit tart, served with fresh hot coffee.
Ingredients: (serves two)
8, 1/4-inch-thick lean pork slices from a pork loin or from boneless pork chops (all about the same size)
1/2 lb. piece of Gruyère cheese
4, 1/8-inch-thick slices of baked Virginia ham (or even better, 8, 1/16th inch thick slices of Country Ham)
1 cup of plain dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons of salt
3/4 teaspoon of black pepper
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 large or extra large eggs
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Equipment: a meat pounder, which is a wooden mallet with crisscross indentations on one side in wood or metal; a cheese plane, which is a simple tool for shaving thin slices of cheese from a piece of cheese; a cookie sheet and a cookie cooling rack.
Pound the pork slices to a thickness of 1/8" on a wooden cutting board with the crisscross side of the meat pounder. Do that by pounding on one side gently and evenly over the surface to reduce the thickness a small amount, then flip the piece over and pound the second side gently and evenly to result in a piece approximately 1/8" thick.
Shave enough Gruyère cheese using the cheese plane to make a double layer of very thin cheese slices for each of 4 of the 8 pounded pork pieces.
Pat dry two pounded pork pieces of roughly the same shape using a paper towel and arrange one of the pieces on a wooden cutting board. Put 1 slice of ham on it, trimming the ham to leave a 1/4-inch border of pork outside the ham, then arrange a double layer of cheese on the ham and top it with the second slice of the pounded pork. Lightly pound a 1/4-inch border around the outer edges of the pork using the flat side of the mallet, to seal the pork sandwich. Make 3 more of the pork "sandwiches" in same manner.
Line the cookie sheet with waxed paper. Stir together the bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a wide, shallow bowl. Stir together the flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in another wide, shallow bowl. Whisk together the eggs, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a third wide shallow bowl.
Dredge one pork sandwich in the flour mixture, gently knocking off any excess coating, then dip the sandwich into the whisked egg mixture to coat it, letting the excess whisked egg mixture drip off. Dredge the egg coated sandwich in the bread crumb mixture, patting the crumb mixture onto the surface on both sides to help it adhere. Transfer the crumbed, coated sandwich to the cooling rack set on the baking sheet. Dredge and coat the remaining sandwiches in same manner. Chill the sandwiches in a refrigerator, uncovered, for 1 hour, and then let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 12-inch diameter heavy skillet over moderately high heat until any foam subsides. Add 2 of the veal sandwiches, then reduce the heat to medium and cook the sandwiches, turning them over once after two minutes, or until golden on the cooked side. Cook for two minutes on the second side. Transfer the cooked sandwiches to dinner plates in a 180 degrees F warming oven and clean/wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Cook the remaining two sandwiches in the remaining butter and oil in same manner and place them on the warmed dinner plates.
Serve immediately along with the side dishes prepared earlier. Expect applause. Life is good.