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Chef's recipe: tangy pork piccata with braised kale Add to ...

One of the biggest challenges with having a young family is making a meal that all three of my kids - as well as my wife and I - will like. My four priorities? Dinners have to be simple, fast, affordable and delicious.

My kids have tried almost everything and, like most children, have their favourites and their not-so-favourites. This recipe - a twist on the chicken picatta my wife and I discovered in Italy a few years ago - gets a thumbs-up: I make it at least once every two weeks. Pork, in my opinion, is underappreciated. It's a great source of protein and not very hard on the wallet.

Kale, meanwhile, is another crowd-pleaser, but most people aren't sure how to prepare it. I simply blanch it in hot water, then roast it with white wine, garlic, salt and pepper for a great and easy side dish. Kale has become one of our favourite vegetables: My wife and I could eat it almost every day.

Together, the pork piccata and braised kale make a simple and satisfying family meal.

Rob Feenie's pork piccata with braised kale

Pork piccata

Ingredients

1 pound pork tenderloin

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons lemon segments (flesh without rind or fibre)

Method

Cut tenderloin crosswise into 2-ounce medallions (approximately six to eight pieces, depending on the size of tenderloin). Place medallions between two pieces of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to flatten them to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Season meat with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Heat heavy skillet on medium heat, add olive oil and then add medallions. Cook approximately two to three minutes on each side. Pour off any excess fat from skillet, then add white wine and lemon juice. When they start to boil, turn heat down to medium-low, add butter and stir to create sauce. Add capers, parsley and lemon segments. Season to taste and keep warm until ready to plate.

Braised kale

Ingredients

1 pound kale (green, purple or white)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 3/4 ounces shallots, finely minced

1 3/4 ounces pancetta or any other smoked bacon, diced

2 cups dry white wine

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry chili flakes (optional)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

Heat large frying pan or pot on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place pancetta in pan and cook until crispy. Add shallots and garlic and cook for one minute. Add kale and stir constantly until kale starts shrinking in volume. Add white wine, chicken stock and vinegar. Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Cover and cook for approximately 12 to 15 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

Rob Feenie is the Food Concept Architect at Vancouver's Cactus Restaurants Ltd.

Wine pairings

Crisp and white works best here. Although piccata originated in Italy, this dish would work nicely with an Australian semillon, an underappreciated white wine with an electric jolt of acidity but also substantial weight and texture to stand up to the butter and pork. Of course, you may prefer to go instead with an Italian beverage to honour the dish's origins. If so, there's plenty of choice. Think pinot grigio, Soave, Gavi, greco, verdicchio - or just about any other Italian white except chardonnay, which can lack sufficient zing to stand up to the lemon and capers. Other good options include dry chenin blanc from South Africa or France's Loire Valley (such as dry Vouvray) or gruner veltliner from Austria.

Beppi Crosariol

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