Ever tried a pork parmo?
Many of you will probably be wondering “what’s a parmo.” That’s understandable too because (sob) they are still pretty much unheard of outside the north east and north Yorkshire.
The parmo (or parmesan) originated in Middlesbrough and is influenced by the Italian dish, the parmigiana, although there are big differences between the two. The parmo is basically a schnitzel (usually chicken or pork), topped with bechamel sauce and melted cheddar cheese. Oddly, there’s ususally no parmesan in it at all.
As you can probably tell, parmos aren’t exactly a low fat option. But then again, neither are burgers, pizza, hot dogs, or any of the other pimped-up junk food Londoners can’t seem to get enough of right now. One thing I can promise you is that a proper parmo is right up there with the best in terms of flavour.
This recipe uses pork fillet, as opposed to chicken because it offers greater flavour and stays more succulent when it’s deep fried. I know that parmo purists would probably take issue with the fact that I’ve included Parma ham, but I think it adds another dimension to the dish.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
*Some of the measurements aren’t exact, so if you think the bechamel is at the right consistency before adding all the milk, don’t feel you have to add more.
1 x Pork tenderloin/fillet (cut across the middle)
60g Plain flour
1 x egg (beaten)
Red Leicester (sliced)
2 slices Parma ham
60g plain flour
Mature Cheddar (grated)
I find the most time consuming part of the recipe is making the bechamel sauce so I like to do it first. It’s not really practical to just make the right amount for two parmos, so there’s always some left over. It keeps for about a week in the fridge though and is perfect for mac and cheese or even some croquetas.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan
- Gradually add the flour over a medium heat, stirring constantly
- Once it’s all added, the mixture should resemble a thick paste and should come away from the sides of the pan
- Cook like this over a medium heat for up to five minutes (or as long as you dare – if it burns, you’ll have to start again)
- Gradually add the milk to the mixture, stirring constantly
- Once the milk is added, add the grated Cheddar to the mix and stir till melted
- The sauce should now be nicely thickened so put it to one side and cover with baking parchment to avoid a skin forming
Now for the meat…
- Remove any excess membrane from the outside of the pork fillet then cut it in two across the middle
- Butterfly both pieces, then place on a chopping board under a sheet of cling film
- Bash them out with a tenderising mallet until they are around half an inch thick all over
- Dredge the meat – first into the flour, then egg, then the panko. Ensure that the coating is even all over then set aside on a cooling rack
- Pour 1/3 bottle of sunflower oil into a wok or deep frying pan and turn onto high heat
- When the oil is sizzling hot, add the first pork fillet. Cook for around 3 minutes on each side, then remove, set aside and repeat with the other piece
- Place the pieces into a preheated oven at 200C for five minutes to finish them off
- Cover the top of both fillets with bechamel sauce
- Now place a slice of Serrano ham on each
- Place the sliced Red Leicester on top of the ham, sprinkle with salt and place under a hot grill until melted
- Add a grind of pepper to finish and serve with triple cooked chips (recipe coming soon), a green salad, garlic aioli and tomato ketchup
Then make sure you go for a run on Monday!
If you want to try a parmo but don’t fancy taking it on yourself, fear not. We’ve set up ParmStar, our very own street food company, serving both parmos and parmas in organic brioche buns. We use free range Yorkshire farm chicken and locally produced cheese. We are also on Twitter @ParmStarUK.