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Video: TODAY’s Melting Pot: Cook up a Portuguese feast

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    >>> this morning on "today's" kitchen, melting pot , pork pinados, a recipe he remembers his grandmother making. the executive chef in greenwich, connecticut.

    >> how are you, al? good to be back.

    >> you remember your grandma making this?

    >> yeah. my grandma had a local eatery in portugal . this is one of the dishes i enjoyed the most as a kid. pork is a very prominent protein in portugal , especially in our area, and she would make these quick pork cutlets with a salad on top. it's gorgeous.

    >> i like that.

    >> very light, very healthy.

    >> we start off with a piece of pork loin like this and you can make these incisions like this to kind of butterfly it open. right? once you have the pork, butterfly it open, we pound it out just to tenderize it a little bit and also to distribute the thickness of the meat so you get even cooking.

    >> this cooks quickly because it's so thin.

    >> definitely cooks very quick. we're going to add a little bit of salt to season. and if you can mix in that parsley into those panko bread crumbs , we're going to drench the pork in a little bit of egg wash and get a quick little mix for me. perfect.

    >> okay.

    >> that's good. and now we're going to basically do this. and just put a little bit of bread crumb on top. coat it nice, give it nice crust and flavor. and they go really well.

    >> could you use another kind of meat?

    >> sure, chicken, veal, nice and light too. so at this point, we're going to take a nice little pan with oil and put it --

    >> any oil you like?

    >> i use a little bit of vegetable oil for frying, for cooking, olive oil . you're going to see a little bit of crust forming, caramelization and golden brown , and at which point we go to this pan here. we're going to flip this over.

    >> look at that.

    >> and see the nice golden brown in the pankos. and this can literally cook for maybe about a minute and a half on each side and you're going to take it off and place it on to there.

    >> okay.

    >> once we have these going, we're going to incorporate it with the pork that's there. and stepping down, now we're going to make the salad. this is the important part. we have really great acidity here. it's merlot vineyard.

    >> can you say a good balsamic?

    >> you can use red wine vinegar , you know, apple cider vinegar. and this has great acidity being made on the market. we have fresh, beautiful tomatoes coming into season. some beautiful water crest which is going to add the greens and pepperiness.

    >> can you use like arugula?

    >> you can use it or incorporate a couple of other greens like kale.

    >> it's on every menu right now. this is a fresh lemon zest to add a little bit more acidity, a little bit of sea salt .

    >> hey, guys, how are you?

    >> hi.

    >> and al, we're going to add the vinegar, a little bit of olive oil .

    >> delicious.

    >> and toss this up.

    >> nothing like your hand to toss it, right?

    >> i'm a chef.

    >> it's the best tool there is.

    >> now we have the pork here. okay. and we're going to put three little pieces here for you guys.

    >> this looks great.

    >> and now -- i won't use my hands because now it's going to you. you can eat the first part.

    >> no, clean hands .

    >> it's so colorful.

    >> perfect.

    >> puts water in your mouth as soon as you see it, right? and it's healthy, localry and really enjoyable.

    >> thank you.

    >> in portugal during the summertime we use rose as a wine of choice. the nice crisp acidity.

    >> thank you.

    >> this is from the southern region of portugal .

    >> you have a lot of great wine.

    >> the restaurant is named after the region in portugal where port wine is produced and there's great red and white wines .

    >> thank you so much.

TODAY recipes
updated 5/15/2013 6:39:26 PM ET 2013-05-15T22:39:26

Recipe: Pork panados with watercress and tomato salad

  • For pork panados:
  • 2 lbs pork loin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch watercress, washed and dried, stems trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cup quartered cherry or small tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves (no stems)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil, additional red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste

For pork loin:

1. Slice pork loin into ¼-inch thick slices. These are ‘medallions.’ Pound each slice lightly, thinning it a bit.

2. Beat the eggs lightly, and place into a shallow bowl or pie plate.

3. Mix the panko with the parsley and cumin, plus some salt and pepper to taste, and place into a second shallow bowl or pie plate.

4. Salt each medallion lightly. Dip first into the egg, then into the crumb mixture to coat both sides. Place onto sheet pan until all are coated.

5. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with a little olive oil, until hot. Add 2 to 3 medallions, or as many as will fit in a single layer. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer to a platter, and keep warm with loosely tented foil.

For salad:

1. Place 2 cups vinegar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer vigorously until reduced to ¾ cup. Set aside to cool.

2. Right before serving, combine next 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with some olive oil, then a splash of vinegar. Toss well, adding salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble:

1. Divide pork medallions onto 4 serving plates. Top each with some watercress and tomato salad.

2. Drizzle with a little reduced vinegar glaze, and serve immediately.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

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