I did a short stint in New Orleans restaurant industry. My personality lends way better too loud smoky bars than fancy restaurant bars. I so don't belong the last time I worked at a fancy restaurant bar it ended in me walking home in my underwear.
At first, all was going well. The head bartender was a veteran. A great older New Orleans bartender who taught me all the classic New Orleans cocktails. But, he never could teach me how to spin glasses to coat them. This klutz can’t even sip from her drink without poking herself in the eye with the straw. So, first came the new bartender - a very attractive young man who let's just say was very lucky he got looks because the brains department was about as empty as beer shelves during a hurricane warning. When you have to ask me multiple times what color Merlot is you probably shouldn’t be bartending. Seems though our manager had alternate plans for this gentleman (that didn't include slinging drinks). All of sudden he is getting head bartender and getting the best shifts with no grunt work. So here I am doing all the stocking, making all the drinks and working the register while Chatty Kathy is just batting his eyes and flashing his way too perfect smile. Now don’t get me wrong a did enjoy all the extra tips from all his admirers so I put my head down and just kept working.
One day it was just too much - the man asked me how to make a screwdriver. A flipping screwdriver! I informed the manager that I would stay on till a replacement was found but that was it, I was done. A week later no new bartender and I am still on the damn schedule. I confront the manager and all he says is “I thought you were kidding." Yeah, because that's a laugh riot. “I’m quitting” always gets the laughs. I insist this my last shift. Next day I get a phone call from my fellow bartender asking if I am coming in. No, I quit, he says but your still on the schedule. Next, comes a call from the manager begging me to come in. You see, I am cursed with this intense work ethic and I couldn’t leave my friends hanging in the wind. So I agreed once again saying that I am done and this is my last shift.
Fast forward to a week later and I am still being called and I am still going in insisting they need to find a new bartender. I am slowly realizing that this manager is like that Ex that just won’t accept the break-up. Then the final straw, Easter Sunday. There at the bar was a gaggle of the richest ladies of New Orleans in giant hats, ordering frozen Bellinis. If you have ever bartended you will know the pure hate we have for making frozen drinks when the bar is busy. There I am making one frozen peach concoction after another while trying to keep up with the restaurant's drink orders. Here I am at a job I have quit at least 5 times covered in sappy peach residue, sweat beading down my head, my feet feel like I went through some sort of crusades torture device and I look up and see the stalky manager and pretty boy just laughing it up with the ladies. As I deliver another set of the sherbet-colored drinks from hell, my manager points at me and says “isn’t she great, one of our best bartenders, this is what they pay me for, to find the good worker bees." Well folks, something snapped. I walked to the end of the bar, remove my shirt, followed by my pants and I bend down, remove my shoes, and place them on the neatly folded uniform pile. Of course, at this point, the manager rushes over and asks what I am doing. I inform him, “This, this is how much I quit!” “Don’t call me! Don’t even look in general direction! In your world, I no longer exist! I am just a figment of your imagination!” With my head held high, I walked through the crowded dining area, out the front door, and down the five blocks to my house. Seems as long as you own it, you can walk through the French Quarter in your bra and panties and no one says a thing(another reason to love New Orleans.)
That night I put some clothes on, (my streaking days were short-lived) and I headed to my favorite local bar. The bartender asked me how I was doing and I spilled the whole story. Next thing I know I have an interview and landed one of my favorite bartending jobs - Molly’s at the Market. I should have known the Monaghans would appreciate a ballsy, loud-mouthed lady that wasn't afraid to show her ass to make a point. A few months later my favorite old man bartender walked into my bar and ordered a cocktail that he had taught me to make. He leaned over and said, “I have seen a lot in my time, but you gave me a story to tell all the other old guys that won the night.” Well, if I impressed a group of veteran New Orleans bartenders then it was worth the mysterious sludge on my feet and the occasional ass grab on the walk home.
Something good did come from this job. My ability to make pretty kick ass paneed things. As far as I know Paneed Chicken is a very New Orleans thing and the nice chefs (I gave them free beer so they loved me) taught me their process. It's a simple process. the important part is the breading and resting.
So I love fried pork chops, pasta, and creamy tomato sauces. Well, then how could combining those three things be anything but epic? A new recipe was born. Paneed pork chops with a Rosa sauce.
Chicken is the usual protein but I knew pork would work beautifully. The key is thin boneless chops. I usually get the butterflied ones. These cook really fast so I find the thinner chops cook through and stay moist. The next step is breading correctly, you must follow the order and shake off the excess. Making sure the chops rest for at least 10 minutes on the cooling racks will keep your breading from slipping off. The number one goal in frying is to get that breading to stay on. If not then your pork chop looks like someone caught it taking off it pants. I start with my grease just smoking hot because as soon as the cops go in the temp drops quite a bit. I have now kinda of a sixth sense when my pork is ready to flip. If you let it go to dark don't worry somebody will eat it, I swear. Since they only take 2-3 minutes per side try not to venture far from your stove. As they cook I put them on a clean cooling rack and put them in the stove at the lowest setting just to keep them warm while I make the sauce.
Now the sauce. I cook this sauce all the time. It is so quick and easy. If you want a quick dinner you can just serve this on its own over pasta. It comes together in less than 10 minutes. Get some French bread to wipe the pot with. It's that good. The only note I have this one is I use a high-quality Tomato Puree for this recipe. Since it's not cooked for long you need a nice, fresh tasting puree that tastes good just on it own. This is the one I use.
I love this puree, like have called friends just to tell them how great it is (this is probably why no one answers my phone calls).
Paneed Pork Chop Recipe
6 thin pork chop
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs traditional
2 tsps Italian seasoning
1 tsp cajun seasoning
3 eggs beaten
1/2-1 cup grated Parmesan
Oil for frying.
Set out three shallow pans to prepare breading station
1. In first dish place parmesan cheese. In second dish three eggs beaten. In the third dish combine Breadcrumbs and seasonings.
2. First dip in Parmesan cheese shake off excess, The dip in egg mixture shake off followed by bread crumbs coat evenly and gently shake off the excess.
3. Once coated place on cooling racks at least 10 minutes to let them set.
4. Heat oil in heavy skillet
5. Once at almost smoking temp add pork chops and fry two to three minutes per side till golden brown.
6. Once done set on cooling racks ready to serve. I place mine in an oven at its lowest setting to keep them warm.
***If your serving this with Pasta right before you start frying would be a good time to put the water on to boil. Then add the pasta right before you start the sauce
Rosa Sauce- Tomato Cream sauce
2 tbls Olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
1 medium Shallot minced
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
1/2 tablespoon Italian Seasoning(recipe on blog)
1/2 cup Heavy cream
1 Tbl butter
1. Over medium-high heat up Olive oil in a large saucepan.
2. Add shallots and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes
3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds
4. Turn heat to medium and add tomato Puree and Italian seasoning. Cook till its simmering.
5. Add heavy cream and continue to cook till its combined and heated through.
6. Remove from heat and add butter and stir till combined.
*Serve over pasta, veggies, protein of your choice or just stand at the stove and dip french bread in it till its gone.