Pork cutlets with fennel, apple & salad


  • 4 thick-cut pork cutlets, bone in, skin off
  • 2 baby fennel
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nuts
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter

  • For the brine
  • 4 tbsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried chilli
  • ½ tsp peppercorns

  • For the apple sauce
  • 4 granny smith apples
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • ¼ vanilla pod
  • 1 ½ tbsp calvados (apple brandy)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp chopped sage
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


For the brine, place all the ingredients in a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to the boil, stir until salt has dissolved, then remove from heat and place in the fridge to cool. When chilled to fridge temperature, add chops and leave refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Remove chops from brine. Pat dry with a paper towel. Leave out of the fridge for at least half an hour before cooking.

For the sauce, peel, core and slice apples. In a large saucepan, start making a dry caramel. Sprinkle sugar evenly on the bottom of the saucepan over medium heat. Shake the pan to promote even browning as the sugar caramelises. When the sugar is evenly melted and golden, add the apples. Split and scrape seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the apples.

Cook until mixture starts to go sticky and translucent, and liquid has reduced, about 6-8 minutes. Deglaze with calvados, reduce for a few minutes, then add vinegar. Blend until smooth in a food processor. Add sage, lemon, salt and pepper. Check seasoning and keep warm.

For salad: Finely slice fennel and apple on a mandolin and combine with chives. Cut macadamias in half.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-based frypan on a medium-high heat. Add pork and cook one side for 5 minutes, until deep golden brown, then turn and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Put pork onto a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest.

Return pan to a medium heat and add butter. Once melted, add macadamia nuts and pan-fry until golden brown.

Serve the chops with the salad. Finish with the macadamias and foaming butter. Serve with the apple sauce on the side.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
Try the Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Grüner Veltliner, 2013, Wachau, Austria.

The variety most closely associated with Austria, grüner veltliner is a versatile grape that works with myriad flavours. On the nose it exhibits lychee, apple and white pepper, while its spiciness and acidity make for a lovely finish.

First published in the Good Weekend.