A SANDWICH THAT HAS NO STORY…
IT’S JUST REALLY TASTY.
YESTERDAY, the last day of Jason’s 3-day-business-trip to Hong Kong, Jiaozi/Dumpling pulled a performance of his life at 10 in the morning, in a theatrical masterpiece called – This Is It. Good bye, mom and dad. Limping and whimpering, wordless but powerful… his flawless craft of showmanship efficiently triggered a wild response from the only audience, and prompted an emergency change in Jason’s itinerary for an earlier return. Then. This morning. Suspiciously and miraculously so, he was moonwalking lively around his “feeding zone” – I’d imagine singing the Smooth Criminal – barking and dancing for his personally prepared chicken liver-rice. Celebrating the success of his pathetic ploy… he ate a shit-load.
I know, I know that I shouldn’t project reasons and meanings behind animal behaviors when there’s probably none… He’s just an
cunning old, sneaky wavy-haired boy Maltese. It’s just sometimes, it’s really hard not to do that.
But what does that have to do with today’s sandwich? Absolutely nothing.
I could have told you that this was our little PTSD-snack, just to get the blood-sugar level back on track. But it wasn’t. I could have painted a nostalgic narrative siting back in childhood when my mom used to regularly make a pan-fried, pounded pork loin in scallion and soy sauce. But no. I hated that dish (sorry, mom). I could even fabricate a story behind these sage-laminated cutlets, an Italian inspiration, based on our trip to Rome where we sat in an open piazza making wishes from a magnificent fountain, and oh, with the blessing of elegant European pigeons. But don’t be silly. Those fountains only grant juvenile public urination, and we mainly stuffed our face with burrata and gelato.
What this is, is just something I’ve been wanting to make. A sky-high stack of paper-thin pork cutlets laminated with fresh sage leaves, pan-fried to golden brown then sandwiched between creamy avocados and arugula and anchovy green sauce on every single layer, and toasted sesame rolls. What this is, is just something I’ve been wanting to call, the stacked green pig sandwich. It’s a sandwich that has no story. My grandma is nowhere involved, and it didn’t even come close to the freshness of grass in a summer picnic basket. What this is, is just something that sounds great, and turned out really tasty. And I suspect as well, that you would not need any rationing to enjoy it with a cold beer.
Sometimes good things happen for no reason or meaning. Sometimes, it’s just, a really good thing.
Servings: 2 sandwiches
Pork loin is not pork tenderloin. Pork tenderloin is a thin strip of meat, vs pork loin is thick with workable width. Pork loin should range from 4″ ~ 5″ (10 ~ 12 cm) in width, and therefore can be pound into large cutlets. It’s an ideal piece of cut because it has virtually no connective tissue, tendon or membrane which would make the pounding/flattening difficult. The downside is that it is also completely lean and can be dry if overcooked. The trick to avoid this is to cook the cutlets on one side only. To get the desired browning on both sides of the cutlets is a 100% guarantee that they’d be overcooked. Plus they are so thin that they really don’t need to be flipped.
Depending on your liking for spiciness, you can add 1 tbsp or more of pickled jalapeño in the green sauce.
- Pork loin cutlets:
- 15.5 oz (440 grams) of pork loin
- 18 ~ 20 fresh sage leaves
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
- Approx 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour for dusting
- Arugula green sauce:
- 1 cup (30 grams) of fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup (25 grams) of baby arugula
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 5 fillets of anchovies
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 ~ 2 tbsp of chopped pickled jalapeño or green chili
- 2 tsp of capers
- 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ripen avocados
- 2 sesame sandwich rolls
- Parmigiano cheese for shaving
- Lime to serve
To make the arugula green sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food-processor, and blend until very smoothly pureed. Transfer to an air-tight container until needed.
To make the pork loin cutlets: Cut the pork loin into 1/4″ (7 mm) thick slices. Lay them evenly on a large piece of parchment paper with at least 1 1/2″ (4 cm) space between each. Cover with another piece of parchment paper, then with a meat-pounder (or even just a hammer), pound and flatten each slices into a bit thinner than 1/8″ (3 mm) thickness. Use a toothpick to secure a leaf of fresh sage onto every cutlets, then season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides.
Season approx 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour with a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently dab the cutlets with the sage-side only into the flour to very lightly coat the surface. Dust off any excess flour and repeat with the rest. Heat up 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large flat skillet over high heat. Place the cutlets sage/flour-side down into the skillet, and cook until you see the bottom edges are golden browned, and the top side looks barely pinkish (they will further cook while resting). Transfer to a plate, with the browned side up, and repeat with the rest of the cutlets.
To assemble the sandwich: Preheat the broiler on high. Smear a layer of arugula green sauce on each side of the sliced open sesame rolls. Toast a few inches under the broiler until browned (this will happen quickly so watch out!). Scoop the avocados out of the skin and disgard the pit. Roughly smash it with a fork, season lightly with salt and pepper, then pile 1/2 of an avocado on each side of the bread (1 avocado for each sandwich).
Generously pile the pork cutlet into the sandwich as you apply a generous smear of arugula green sauce between each cutlets. Top with some shaved Parmigiano cheese and a little squeeze of lime juice.