Do you have any friends so perfect you would hate them if you didn’t love them so much? We do. Every year we get a Holiday card or two from those perfect friends who have gorgeous, well-mannered children and live in beautifully curated homes. When the cards arrive I show them to my husband who can’t help but agree with my assessment that: “This card looks like an ad for Tiny Prints! Wouldn’t you hate them if you didn't know them?” This is sort of how I feel about culinary goddess Rachel Allen - minus the part about knowing her personally. She’s the beautiful and talented cook who graduated from Ballymaloe Cookery School at the age of 18 and went on to work there, marry the very handsome Isaac Allen, son of Ballymaloe’s famous Darina Allen, raise three children, write cookbooks, star in TV shows and basically lead the life dreams are made of. Somehow, despite all of her beauty and talent, she seems to be totally down to earth and, just like those perfect friends of ours, way too lovely to hate.
It’s very, very tough to hate a woman who provides you with a delicious meal like this one that can be made on a weeknight (oh, and my birthday cake). So instead I am one of her biggest fans. I watch her on TV and buy her cookbooks. Her latest one, Coast, is probably my favorite yet. The book is set up as a culinary road trip that takes you along Ireland’s Atlantic coast from Cork all the way up to Donegal. The book makes you wish you were able to join Rachel on her journey and sample all of the local produce and artisanal products available along the way. Each time I open it, I vow to make the same trip up the coast with my family. I will, once the kids are old enough to remember and enjoy it. In the meantime I feed them.
Pork Schnitzel with Sage Butter
adapted slightly from Coast by Rachel Allen
1 ½lb fillet of pork, cut at an angle into ½ inch-thick slices
½ cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ cup fine white breadcrumbs (fresh or frozen)
Grated zest of ½ lemon
2 eggs, beaten
Butter and extra virgin olive oil, for frying
For the sage butter:
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 stick butter, softened
1 tbsp chopped sage
1 tbsp lemon juice
Mix all the ingredients for the sage butter in a bowl. Put on a sheet of greaseproof paper, roll into a log and chill.
Place the pork fillet slices between two sheets of plastic wrap and, using a rolling pin, gently beat until flattened to about one quarter of an inch thick .
Mix the flour with a pinch of salt and a twist of pepper in a bowl big enough to toss the pork in; in another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt, a few twists of pepper and the lemon zest; and, in a third bowl, whisk the eggs together.
Dip each piece of pork into the flour, then into the egg and then in the crumbs. Make sure they are well coated.
Heat one tablespoon each of butter and olive oil in a frying pan and fry the schnitzels in batches, adding more butter and oil when needed. Keep the cooked schnitzels, uncovered, in a warm oven while you cook the rest. Serve with slices of sage butter melting on top, and a salad or seasonal greens.