Pork Milanese is an Italian classic made with thin pork cutlets that are breaded and sautéed until golden. It’s served with an arugula salad with lemon for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
This pork Milanese with arugula salad makes is an exceptionally easy, one-skillet supper. Not only that, the recipe instructs you to start with a plump pork chop and then pound it into satisfying and satiating submission. This is essential so that the pork cooks evenly. Serendipitously, it’s also quite cathartic in terms of venting your frustrations. Just grab a meat mallet, rolling pin, or cast-iron skillet and start whacking away. If you’re the nonviolent sort, you could attempt to sweet talk your butcher into doing this for you. (Uh, have we mentioned lately how important it is to cultivate a loving relationship with your butcher?!)–Renee Schettler Rossi
Pork Milanese Recipe
- Four (1-inch-thick) center-cut, boneless pork chops
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 bunch arugula stems removed (or other salad greens)
- 1/2 pound teardrop, grape, or cherry tomatoes halved, or colorful heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 lemon seeded and cut into 4 wedges
- Working with 1 pork chop at a time, place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper or pieces of plastic wrap. Grab a meat mallet [Editor’s Note: A rolling pin or the bottom of a cast-iron skillet works just dandy] and pound the pork chops until they’re uniformly 1/4 inch thick.
- Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and lightly beat them with a fork. Place the bread crumbs on a plate. Set these up next to your stove.
- Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Dip each chop into the beaten egg, allowing the excess to drip off. Then dredge each chop in the bread crumbs and place it on a clean plate.
- In a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup oil. Add the butter and wait for the foam to subside, which should happen in 10 to 15 seconds.
- Place the pork in the pan, being careful not to crowd the pork. You may need to work in batches. Cook until the pork is light golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn the chops and cook until the other side is light golden brown and the pork is cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Add more oil if necessary, 1/2 tablespoon or so at a time.
☞ TESTER TIP: Be certain to keep the heat at a medium heat so as not to burn the bread crumb coating.
- While the pork cooks, combine the arugula (or salad greens) and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Divvy the pork, arugula salad, and lemon wedges among plates and serve immediately.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These pork chops were really great with a crisp, golden coating that wasn’t at all greasy or heavy. This recipe is really easy to follow, not too time-consuming, and has cured me of my fear of breading and frying once and for all.
I halved the recipe to make just 2 servings. The simplicity of the salad is lovely to look at and accompanies the pork well.
I loved everything about this pork Milanese recipe. It was quick and easy. It was very economical. The taste was fresh and clean. And the contrasts in textures, flavors, and temperatures made each bite come alive. There was the hot crispy breaded pork, the peppery arugula, and the amazingly fresh and flavorful tomatoes. Fresh lemon juice, squeezed over the meat, put it over the top.
I had sampled fresh tomatoes at the farmers’ market, and the heirlooms were tasting much better than the teardrop/grape/cherry tomatoes, so I used a selection of heirlooms, cut into small chunks, in place of the halved small tomatoes. I also used panko crumbs because I forgot to buy bread. The panko worked perfectly as a breading. Whether you call it Milanese or schnitzel, I love dishes like this. I really like the fresh notes that the arugula and tomatoes add to the dish. It makes it seem much lighter than other breaded and fried cutlets. I can’t wait to make this again.
This pork Milanese recipe is the perfect combination of buttery/crisp and peppery/lemony. The salad complements the pork beautifully and makes you feel slightly virtuous while eating a piece of golden-fried meat.
The only time-consuming aspect is making and toasting your own bread crumbs. If you had them on hand, this recipe would be a snap.
This pork Milanese recipe is exactly why I love Mario Batali so much. It’s uncomplicated, easy to prepare, and delicious.
The only (slight) problem I encountered with this recipe was the breading getting a little oily. Because the heat wasn’t that high (so as to not burn the bread crumbs), the breading had a chance to absorb the oil. However, the lemon juice used in the dressing cut through that richness. I ended up using baby heirloom tomatoes (all shapes and sizes) for the recipe.
Looking forward to trying this recipe with chicken breast next time!
Oh, I can’t tell a lie. I find that most recipes by Mario Batali are delicious. But you never know, so I tried this one. It, too, is a keeper. The pork was tender and flavorful (I used local, organic pork), and the tomatoes were heirloom, which made a huge difference in flavor.
It was beautiful on the plate and even more delicious in my mouth. Perfect for your family and equally perfect for company.
Originally published March 22, 2020