Damien I met (innocently) on Hampstead Heath when he was showing his new pup (not a euphemism) off to everyone.
Since then, we’ve had riotous holidays in Sitges, great parties at his flat in Islington and a fun Christmas in Zurich (now his home).
But it’s Italy where both Damien and I really relax. Damien has a home in the hills outside Perugia and he is generous in his invitations for me to visit him there. We both lead manic lives where we are connected to everything/everyone by phone or computer – it’s a relief to visit Damien in a place that has no TV, no phone and no mobile reception.
What do we do? We eat, drink, and tend to the garden. We also play cards; I clean up as Damien has a terrible poker face.
I created this dish while visiting the house with Jarod as I was inspired by the herbs in the local dish ‘porchetta’ – a herb-stuffed pork roast served in a crunchy bread roll.
Music to listen to while preparing this dish: ‘Fire with Fire’ by The Scissor Sisters
- 4 veal chops on the bone, 1″ thick,
- 3 large packs of panko breadcrumbs
- 1 heaped dessert spoon freshly chopped rosemary
- 1 heaped dessert spoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
- 1 heaped dessert spoon freshly chopped sage
- 1 teaspoon of garlic flakes
- 1 heaped dessert spoon fennel seeds
- 6 eggs beaten
- Plain flour for dusting the chops
- Vegetable oil frying
- Salt & pepper
- Fresh lemons
- Heat your oven to 100C
- Trim any excess fat (there shouldn’t be much) from the chops and clean the bone that’s exposed. If you can’t find chops, escalopes will do. If you’re funny about veal, then a good thick pork chop also works.
- Add the herbs, seeds and flakes to the bread crumbs and mix ensuring they are evenly distributed. It should look green.
- Line up your bowls, from left to right: flour, eggs, breadcrumbs
- Coat the chops in flour (dusting off excess), dip in the egg mix, then coat in breadcrumbs.
- Each chop needs to be double-dipped in egg and double coated in crumbs.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat a generous amount of vegetable oil on a medium heat. Once heated, fry your chops. If your pan is big enough fry two chops at a time, if not, one at time.
- Cook the chops for between 5-8 mins either side. You know the side you’re cooking is ready when the crumbs are golden brown.
- Once both sides are golden and crispy, put on a plate lined with double layers of kitchen roll and keep warm in the oven.
- Once all the chops are cooked, serve with a sprinkle of salt, a grind of black pepper and a huge wedge of lemon which diners squeeze over the chop.
Serve with a simple salad (my old favourite of lamb’s lettuce with Claudie’s classic vinaigrette is a real winner)