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Most recipes that are prepared “Florentine” style feature a main dish containing spinach. Chicken breasts on a bed of buttered spinach, or eggs Florentine, just to name a couple. Florence, Italy is known for their distinctive style of Italian cuisine. So, there is another popular way to prepare a main dish from that region. Butter is often used to baste meat in the skillet rather than the obvious choice, pure olive oil.
Cultured butter is often used for this style of cooking. It contains more “butter fat” allowing it to have a higher smoke point, when combined with olive oil to prepare chicken or pork in this fashion. What is cultured butter? It’s exactly what we might suspect, as it is made with cream that is cultured with active bacteria similar to the way yogurt is produced. However, it is not completely necessary to use cultured butter when cooking at a lower temperature.
When you heat the butter in the skillet, start on a medium heat, and reduce to medium-low when the milk solids began to brown. If they darken too much, sop them up with a wadded piece of paper towel and discard them.
I’m using pork for this recipe and since the butter basted pork is so decadent, I made a light marinara to serve with it over pasta. I also like Florentine chicken breasts served over mashed potatoes with a side of sautéed spinach.
Whether I am preparing the dish with pork or chicken, I flatten the meat with a mallet, no thicker than ½-inch. With the varying thickness of a chicken breast, this also allows for more even cooking. Note: If the pork loin chops have a band of fat, you may need to cut a couple of slits in the fat to loosen it before the mallet can flatten the chop.
Enjoy spending more time in the kitchen as summer winds down. And enjoy food made fresh!
Florentine Pork Loin Chops
4 pork loin chops (thinner cut)
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces dry pasta
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
28 ounce can good tomatoes, petite diced with juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons good butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place chops between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound out with a mallet until ½-inch thick. Season with about half the salt and pepper.
Place egg in a shallow dish and beat well with the tines of a fork, set aside. Place flour in a separate shallow dish, set aside.
Prepare pasta per package instructions. Drain, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add 2 tablespoons oil, tomatoes, garlic, basil, and remaining salt and pepper. Stir, and simmer over medium-low heat while cooking the chops.
Heat butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until the milk solids in the butter begin to brown. Dip each chop into the egg and let excess drip off. Dredge each one in the flour and shake off any excess. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook chops for approximately 5 minutes on first side. Occasionally baste the top side of the chops by spooning butter/oil over them, (carefully tilt the skillet, if necessary to scoop up the butter and oil). Turn chops over and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until meat is done; continuing to baste. Turn off heat. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the chops.
Plate the pasta and tomato sauce, topping each serving with one chop. Makes 4 servings.