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Cheddar Waffles with Pork Schnitzel, Country Ham and Sunny-Side-Up Egg

Feeds 4 hungry folks

I’m fanatical about waffles. They are far superior to pancakes, French toast, and the other breakfast sweets of the world. If you don’t have a good waffle iron, spend a few bucks on a heavy-gauge, nonstick model. The reason is, we’re tempting the waffle gods by adding so much cheddar cheese here. You don’t want the waffles to stick. The cheese is inspired by Italian frico, which is just fried cheese in a pan. You get a similar effect here with a layer of cheddar sprinkled on the waffle batter that melts, browns, and crisps. Fried pork makes the perfect accompaniment. The trick to schnitzel is pounding the meat nice and thin—no thicker than ¼ inch. That way, it isn’t too chewy. Panko bread crumbs give the schnitzel awesome crunch. But one piece of pork is never enough for breakfast! I add a slice of country ham to each plate along with some fried eggs . . . and rivers of maple syrup, of course.

 

Canola oil for frying

about ½ cup

 

Pork loin 4 trimmed slices

about 1½ ounces each

 

Salt

 

All-purpose flour

1 cup

 

Eggs

6 large

 

Panko bread crumbs

1 cup finely ground

 

Best-quality pure maple syrup, such as BLiS  

½ cup

 

Butter

4 tablespoons

 

Cheddar waffles (recipe follows)

4 single waffles

 

Country ham

4 very thin slices, about 2 ounces total

 

  1. Pour 2 inches of oil into a large cast-iron skillet and heat it to 375°F.
  2. Place the pork loin slices between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently and evenly pound them to a ¼-inch thickness. Pat the pork dry with a paper towel and season with salt. Bread the pork using the 3-step fry prep with flour, 2 of the eggs, and the panko (see page 7). Fry the pork in the hot oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the other. Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels. Transfer the pork schnitzel to the paper towels to drain.
  3. In a small skillet over low heat, bring the maple syrup to a low simmer. Pull the pan from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons of the butter until melted. Set to the side but keep warm.
  4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl and gently slide the egg into one side of the warmed skillet; repeat the process with the remaining eggs, gently sliding each egg into its own section of the skillet. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the whites are fully cooked and opaque, about 4 minutes.
  5. For each plate, set a waffle in the center and generously spoon some syrup over the waffle. Add a slice of schnitzel and spoon on a little more syrup. Top with a slice of ham, and crown with a sunnyside-up egg and, yes, a little more syrup.

 

Cheddar Waffles

Makes 3 double waffles (six 4 1/2 – inch square waffles )

 

All-purpose flour

2/3 cup

 

Salt

½ teaspoon

 

Baking powder

1 teaspoon

 

Eggs

2 large

 

Whole milk

1 cup

 

Egg whites

2

 

Sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon

 

Butter

5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon, melted and kept warm

 

Cheddar cheese

2/3 cup grated, 3 ounces

 

  1. Heat an electric Belgian-style waffle maker on the medium setting. I like to preheat the waffle iron for at least 10 minutes to make sure it’s nice and hot.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. In a third, deep bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar to the whites and continue beating until the whites form soft peaks when the mixer is lifted. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a large spoon just until no giant flour clumps remain; there will still be some small lumps. Start whisking and slowly add the melted butter, whisking gently yet nonstop until incorporated. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter; you’ll have a few small clumps of whites remaining—that’s okay.
  3. Generously coat the waffle maker with nonstick spray. Ladle about ½ cup batter onto the center of the waffle maker and sprinkle with a generous amount of the cheese. Close the top and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For most waffle makers, the waffles are golden brown when you no longer see steam escaping and you can see the edges browning, 4 to 5 minutes after closing the lid. The cook’s rule is that the first waffle is always a forfeit; it won’t come out cleanly. Enjoy it as a snack, then spray the waffle iron again and repeat until all the waffles are cooked. When you remove the waffles, set them on a cooling rack so they don’t steam or get soggy.