Pork Milanese

Pork is “the other white meat”, or so it’s been called. In 1987 the U.S. National Pork Board began an aggressive advertising campaign to help position pork as a white meat alternative since it was commonly getting overlooked by consumers. The campaign was paid for using a checkoff (tax) collected from the initial sale of all pigs and pork products.  The Board chose this campaign in part due to a public perception that chicken and turkey were “healthier” choices compared to red meat.  

pork Milanese

The biggest challenge with pork was that many common pork products were not all that healthy: bacon (high in sodium, loaded with nitrates), ribs (fattiest cut), ham (typically high in sodium, full of nitrates), and pork rinds (extremely fatty). But other types of pork cuts, such as cutlets and loins, were great low-fat options. The Pork Board’s campaign turned out to be extremely successful and 87% of consumers began to identify pork with that slogan and therefore began buying more of it. The catchy phrase boosted pork sales and the Board kept it as its go-to slogan until it was finally retired in 2011.  Ironically, despite pork’s uber-popular tagline, the United States Department of Agriculture doesn’t classify pork as white meat, but rather it falls in the red meat category–a testament to how deceiving advertising can be.

Health Benefits of Pork

Despite the success of the pro-pork campaign, pork still lacks the true attention it deserves.  What people should focus on is the big boost of complete protein pork has to offer. Nutritionally speaking, pork, (particularly lean pork cuts), are loaded with iron, potassium, and many other essential nutrients while being about as lean as chicken. Thanks to modern advances, today’s hogs and domestic swine have substantially less fat than they used to have due to improved genetics, breeding, and feeding techniques. So the real takeaway is unless you follow religious restrictions and abstain from eating pork altogether, incorporate pork into your recipe repertoire as both an inexpensive and somewhat “healthy” protein option.

When cooking pork of any kind what’s essential is practicing good food safety, which primarily means to cook it thoroughly. Using a digital meat thermometer will help. But note, that a slight pink(ish) color is, despite what many people think, considered safe as long as the internal the suggested internal temperature of 145 degrees has been reached.

pork Milanese

Pork Milanese, or “Cotoletta Alla Milanese as it’s often called, is typically made with veal, coated in flour and egg, and dipped in seasoned breadcrumbs, but can be made with other types of meat such as chicken, turkey, or pork.  The origin of the dish is not fully known but my understanding is both Austrians and the Italians claim to have invented it. The technique used here is not unlike the traditional French technique I use in Eli’s crispy chicken recipe, the pork is dredged in flour, beaten egg, and bread crumb coating, but the flavor is very different with pork and the addition of parmesan cheese.

Like my chicken recipe, this is a great, flavorful quick meal option for all types of eaters. Served with a simple arugula salad, it is a perfect meal all year round but one I love in warmer months.

pork Milanese

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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