Pork Schnitzel with Cucumber Salad

The tangy, quickly pickled cucumbers and onions make a great counterpoint to the lightly fried pork cutlets

By KATIE WORKMAN for the Flathead Beacon

Schnitzels are often made with veal or chicken, but pork is a great alternative. Pounding out the cutlets makes them even thinner and more tender, so they cook up quickly, perfect for a weeknight meal. And there’s that irresistible crunch from the Panko bread-crumb coating. This is one of those heartening dishes that’s popular with both kids and adults.

The tangy, quickly pickled cucumbers and onions make a great counterpoint to the lightly fried pork cutlets. You could definitely use dried dill instead of fresh if it’s easier.

Also, yes, they’re called seedless cucumbers, but of course there are still a nominal amount of seeds in them. Removing the seeds gives the salad a nicer texture, without the slightly slimy consistency of the seeds, and helps reduce any wateriness in the salad.

A little tip: Double the cucumber salad next time you are serving a bagel and smoked salmon spread — it’s a great side for a brunch of any sort, especially as a foil to smoked fish.

Pork Schnitzel with Pickley Cucumber Salad

Serves 2 to 4

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Quick Pickley Cucumber Salad

1 seedless cucumber, peeled if desired

1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (preferable) or 1 teaspoon dried dill

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pork Schnitzel

4 1/2-inch (4 ounce) thick boneless pork chops

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup whole milk

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 teaspoons finely minced fresh thyme

2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise, use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds, and slice the cucumbers into thin half-moons.

Place the sliced cucumber and the onion in a colander and toss with the salt. Let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse the cucumber and onion in very cold water and, using your hands, squeeze the vegetables to remove as much water as possible. Place the cucumber mixture in a clean dishtowel, roll up, and twist and squeeze to remove as much water as possible again.

In a serving bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar, dill and pepper. Add the cucumber and onion and toss to combine. Hold in the fridge.

Place each pork chop between two pieces of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin (or bottle of wine) to gently pound the pork chops until they are of an even thickness between ¼- and 1/3-inch thick.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl, the milk in another shallow bowl, and the Panko bread crumbs in a third shallow bowl. Season the flour and the milk lightly with salt and pepper. Stir the thyme into the Panko.

Season the pork lightly with salt and pepper, then dip each piece into the flour, shaking off any excess, and then into the milk, then the Panko, pressing so that the bread crumbs adhere to the pork. Place the breaded pork on a plate or wire rack.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet until hot. Cook the pork for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown and just cooked through; you will probably need to do this in at least two batches, adding more oil for the second batch as needed.

When the pieces of pork are cooked, place them briefly on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve the pork with the Quick Pickley Cucumber Salad.

Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.”