My obsession with the Food Network was getting a little out of hand. Friends that frequented my house would make jabs about “the only station I watched.” I didn’t care. I loved it. The descriptions. The different hosts. Learning about new food. It was the first thing I watched and the last thing I saw before drifting off at night. It took me awhile to realize that “that” was my path. Food. Somehow, someway, we were meant to be, and I would make my mark.
That way came a few years later when I moved back home while my husband (ex now…thankfully) was on deployment in Afghanistan. I finally decided to make those day dreams of mine a reality. So, I enrolled in Culinary School. There, I learned the ins and outs of a professional kitchen. Proper sanitation. What pans to use for what. How to bake even. I loved every single friggin’ minute of it. I became very close with my band of culinary outlaws and learned from a few of them even more insight into what it’s like to work in a kitchen. Many of the students already had restaurant jobs and so we spoke shop as often as we could between classes. I learned of chefs I’d never heard of. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, who basically made the term “farm to table” what it is today by championing local sustainable agriculture ( I adored her). Auguste Escoffier, the Father of French Cuisine. Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, Daniel Boulud. The list goes on and on, and so do the books on my shelf(s). I’d heard of Bourdain before that point but didn’t know too much about him. A friend suggested I read Kitchen Confidential. If I didn’t know him before I knew him after that book.
He was rugged, good looking. A culinary genius. And so, so clever. His “quip-isms” made me simply adore him.
His tragic passing this past June, this past MONTH actually, has left me a bit empty in a way. I never met him. I never spoke with him. But he moved me along with so many others. There really are no words. How can someone you don’t even know affect you so much? Speaking for myself, it’s the emotion(s) toward food that he evoked in me. The realistic talks about life-in and out of the kitchen. The camaraderie that I felt with this famous chef because he was just a cook.. just like me. This has really been a mourning period for me and I have found comfort reading up on him again and flipping through his books. I also purchased his 2016 cook book, “Appetitites- A Cookbook,” when it became available again (that’s so weird that happens when someone passes). The recipe below is from that book. Follow his directions to a T because it is perfect. What else would you expect from Bourdain?
The Following is Directly from the book (page 90) “Appetites~ A Cookbook” written by Anthony Bourdain.
4 boneless pork rib chops or cutlets (about 6 ounces each)
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Chinese rice wine
¼ cup black vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon five-spice powder 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
½ cup all-purpose flour
1½ cups panko bread crumbs Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cups peanut oil, for frying, plus more as needed
8 slices white sandwich bread Chili paste, for garnish
Meat mallet or heavy-duty rolling pin
Sheet pan or platter lined with newspaper
This sandwich, loosely inspired by a pork chop bun served to me for television in Macau, is possibly the most delicious thing in the book. We had a hard time shooting it, because everyone in the room kept eating the models.
Pound the pork to ¼-inch thickness, using the meat mallet. If using a rolling pin, be sure to wrap the meat in plastic before whacking it (and consider getting yourself a meat mallet).
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, five-spice powder, and sugar. Place the pork in a zip-seal plastic bag or nonreactive container and pour the marinade mixture over, turning the chops to ensure that they’re evenly coated with liquid. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
Remove the chops from the marinade and brush off the garlic. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl and place the flour and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Season the flour with salt and pepper. You may need to add a tablespoon of water to the beaten egg, to loosen its texture so that it adheres evenly to the meat.
To a large, heavy-bottom frying pan, add the peanut oil and heat over medium-high.
While the oil heats, dredge the chops in the flour, batting off any extra, then in the egg, then in the bread crumbs.
Test the oil with a pinch of bread crumbs. If they immediately sizzle, carefully slide the chops into the hot oil, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan and bringing down the temperature of the oil. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove the cooked chops from the oil and let drain on the lined sheet pan. Season lightly with salt.
Toast the bread until golden brown.
Assemble the sandwiches and serve with the chili paste alongside.
Here’s a lil vid I threw together for ya’ to kinda help you see what you’re looking for in each step of the process. Enjoy! 🙂
My next post will be the recipe for the above mentioned Creamy Asian Slaw. F.Y.I….my bro said it was the best slaw he’s ever had! So, uhh..yeah…get some!:p
What are some things you remember about Anthony Bourdain? What was perhaps one of the most memorable episodes you watched with him on “No Reservations”? I’d love to hear your thoughts or comments about Anthony and how he impacted your food world below.