"I cannot get most Americans to eat the skin on fish or the fat on meat," says Ken Vedrinski. After watching so many diners remove the cap of fat on pork loin, he now cuts it off, then renders it to dress a warm cabbage salad.
Slideshow: More Pork Recipes
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast with at least 1/4-inch cap of fat
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons vin cotto, plus more for drizzling (see Note)
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
All-purpose flour, for dredging
1 pound red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large red-skinned or Bosc pear, cored and cut into thin sticks
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 325°. Trim the fat from the top of the pork loin and cut into thin strips. Spread the fat strips on a large rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and bake for about 25 minutes, until the fat is melted and the cracklings are browned and crisp. Transfer the cracklings to paper towels to drain. Pour the melted fat into a small bowl; you should have about 2 tablespoons.
Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool and coarsely chop. Reduce the oven to 300°.
Trim off any silver skin from the pork loin and slice the meat crosswise into 4 pieces. Set each piece between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an 1/8-inch thickness.
In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the 3 tablespoons of vin cotto, the shallot and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Season the pork scaloppine with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Add 2 of the scaloppine to the hot oil and cook over high heat until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn the scaloppine and cook for about 20 seconds longer. Transfer the scaloppine to a large rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Cook the remaining scaloppine in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Pour off the oil in the skillet and wipe it out. Add the vinaigrette and the melted pork fat to the skillet and warm over moderately high heat. Add the cabbage and pear and toss until warm, 30 seconds. Transfer the salad and scaloppine to plates and garnish the salad with the cracklings. Sprinkle with the walnuts, drizzle with vin cotto and serve.
Vin cotto, a sweet, tangy grape-must condiment, is available at specialty-food stores and online at amazon.com. You can substitute a good-quality balsamic vinegar.
The hearty dish is great with lush southern Italian reds, like Aglianico from Basilicata.
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