Pork Medallions with Apples and Cabbage
1 medium head green cabbage, coarsely shredded
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 tablespoons butter
4 large shallots, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed and sliced into 1/4” slices
Salt and pepper, to season pork
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry
1 cup heavy cream
Chopped parsley, or garnish
Sauté the cabbage, apple slices and shallots in the 4 tablespoons butter, stirring, or 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking 10 minutes longer o until the apples are fork tender. Season with the 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the vinegar. Set aside.
Place the pork slices between sheets of plastic wrap and pound until very thin (1/8”)
Season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess.
Heat the remaining butter and the oil in a large skillet. Over high heat, brown the pork or about 1 minute on each side; remove to a side dish.
Pour fat from the skillet and add the wine and cook over high until it is reduced by half. Stir in the broth and cream and cook over high to reduce by half.
Reheat the apple-cabbage mixture.
Return the pork to the skillet just to reheat and coat with the sauce.
Serve with the cabbage-apple mixture surrounding the pork.
Garnish with chopped parsley.
Serves 6 to 8.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is the world’s unique parmesan cheese. It’s not manufactured, but carefully homemade by artisan cheese makers whose skills have been passed down for nine hundred years. It is made only in a region of Northern Italy in the Provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua and Bologna.
Only a few days ago I visited one of the 380 “caseificio” or cheese making facilities in
The combination of skimmed and whole milk has been steam-heated and with the cauldron at the proper temperature, a dairyman adds rennet enzymes. We watch as the curds form and are carefully broken up with a giant whisk. Only the time-trained expert knows when the tiny curds are ready to settle to the bottom where a large solid mass gathers. This mass, which looks at this point like a gargantuan fresh mozzarella, is lifted by the dairyman and his assistant into a linen cloth tied to two sturdy poles that rest across the cauldron. In no time, a large knife is produced and the cheese mass is cut in two pieces. Each of these pieces will someday be a wheel of the precious Parmigiano Reggiano. Just two wheels from all of that milk! Watching this magical process, it occurred to me that the only thing that has changed in 900 years is electricity that heats the cauldron, instead of the wood fire that was the heat source back then. Well, maybe the other equipment is a bit more updated too, but the success of the cheese was then, and remains to be a collective effort between man and nature.
A finished, properly aged wheel of this cheese not only requires a lot of human effort, but it needs time, longer than any other cheese, before that 550 liters of milk turns into a golden wheel that can be officially called “Parmigiano Reggiano.” The formed fresh wheels are soaked in salt water and finally stored on wooden shelves in a special storage facility where it rests and waits for at least two years. During this time, the wheels are brushed and carefully turned on a regular basis. Finally they are ready to qualify as
If you’ve only thought of parmesan as cheese to grate over the spaghetti, you, no doubt haven’t experienced eating a chunk of this luscious cheese with its dense granular texture and rich nutty flavor. Try a small wedge with a couple of drops of artisan Balsamic vinegar for a fine appetizer. Eat it in good health too, because this cheese is made from part-skim milk it is lowest in fat of any aged natural cheese. The long and careful aging causes the milk protein to break down into crystallized free amino acids, giving it a distinctive crunch and making it easier to digest than other cheeses. If you are concerned about sodium, you will be glad to know it has about one-third the amount of salt in other hard grating cheeses available in our marketplace.
Of course Parmigiano Reggiano is also great for cooking. I collected a number of great recipes while in Italy. I am sharing three of them with you that I think are just right to serve in this fall season.
Cherry Tomato and Pine Nut Tarts with Parmigiano Reggiano
1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely shredded basil leaves
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
9 cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Shards of Parmigiano Reggiano, to garnish
Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
Unroll the pasty sheet and cut into 6 equal rectangles. Using a sharp knife, score a border within each rectangle about 3/4 inch from the edge. Don’t cut all the way through.
Place on the baking sheet.
Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle over the basil.
Distribute the cheese evenly among the tarts. Place 3 tomato halves on each.
Season with salt and pepper.
Brush the pastry edges with the egg wash.
Bake in a preheated 400 º F. oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the pine nuts. Put back into the oven for about 5 more minute or until pastry is puffed and crisp.
Serve garnished with shards of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Makes 6 appetizers.
Two Potato Tart
6 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
1 pound all-purpose potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg
Using a vegetable peeler, make slivers of the cheese. (or shred into coarse shreds)
Slice both potatoes into very thin (1/8”) rounds.
Melt the butter and oil together in a small pan.
Pour half into a 9” cast iron (or nonstick) skillet.
Make a layer using 1/3 of the white potatoes, overlapping them in circular pattern. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Scatter over 1/3 of the cheese.
Make a second layer with the sweet potatoes, with the overlapping spiral going in the opposite direction. Repeat with seasonings and cheese.
Continue until all of the potatoes are in the pan.
Pour the remaining oil-butter mixture over the top.
Cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty foil, sealing tightly.
Bake in a preheated 425 º F. oven for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking about 25 minutes longer or until the potatoes are tender and browned at the edges.
Cut into wedges and serve hot.
Butternut Squash Risotto
1 medium butternut squash
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 3/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups chicken broth, simmering*
1 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Dash cayenne pepper
Kosher salt to taste
Trim the stem from the squash. Place on a cutting board and, with a large sharp knife, cut in half lengthwise.
Cover a baking sheet with foil and generously grease the foil. Place the squash, cut side down, on the foil. Bake in a preheated 375 º F. oven for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. Remove and cool. Scoop out the seeds and discard. With a small sharp knife, score the cooked squash into small squares, then scoop out and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large heavy pan. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring, or until translucent. Add the rice and stir over medium heat until the rice is well coated, about 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and simmer until it evaporates.
Raise the heat and add a large ladle of the hot broth, enough to barely coat the rice. Cook, stirring until stock is almost reduced. Ladle in more broth (not too much, just enough to cover the rice) and continue to stir. Repeat until the rice is creamy, but still firm. Total cooking time will be 18 minutes.
Stir in the squash, Parmigiano Reggiano , sage and parsley. Add the dash of pepper and season to taste with salt.
Serve immediately with more shredded cheese to pass at the table.
Note: You may not need to use all of the broth.