Pork Scallopini with Kumquat Sauce


Have you ever wondered what scallopini really means? I have ordered it several times in a restaurant and always knew what I was going to get when I oh-so-artfully try to fake a horrible Italian accent. But did I have any idea what the word actually means? Of course not. So I, with my wandering mind and weird questions à la Seinfeld style, just had to Wiki it.


Turns out that Scallopini (or Scaloppine in Italian) is a thinly sliced cut of meat. It is usually made with veal or chicken, dredged in flour, pan fried and served with a wine or cream-based sauce. Armed with this new information, I embarked on a quest to make a whole new healthier version of this traditional dish that is fancy enough to serve for guests and simple enough to have as a weeknight meal.

It is citrus season here in California and we have a kumquat tree in our backyard. I LOVE that we have this tree but sometimes I’m not quite sure what to do with the luscious little fruits it produces. Of course they are delicious eaten fresh and baked into cakes and breads, but how to cook with them? Hmmm… How about a sweet and savory sauce? Oh, perfect. Now what pairs well with a sweet and savory sauce?… Pork of course!

If you’ve never tried a kumquat, you must. They are perfect little citrus bundles that you can eat whole. They are becoming more popular across the U.S. and can be found in many grocery stores nowadays. Can’t find any kumquats? Use the zest and fruit of an orange instead. Also great on chicken or fish, if you like citrus, then this sauce will not disappoint!


  • 6 – 4oz boneless pork chops
  • 12 kumquats
  • ½ cup chopped leeks
  • 2 whole star anise (or ½ tsp ground if you can’t get whole)
  • 2 tsp whole mustard seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water



Heat a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Toast the star anise and mustard seed in the pan, stirring often, until fragrant. Remove and place in a spice grinder. Grind until fine.

Return the pan to the heat and turn it up to medium. Coat with cooking spray.

Roughly chop the kumquats and put them in the pan with the leeks.
Sauté the leeks and fruit until softened. Add the spice mixture, salt, pepper and ½ cup of water. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Add more water if too thick. Cover and turn heat down while you cook the pork.

Heat a large skillet on medium high heat.

Trim the fat from the pork loin chops. Placing a piece of plastic wrap on top, pound each chop thin with a mallet. Lightly sprinkle each loin chop with salt and pepper on both sides.

Coat the skillet with cooking spray. Place the loin chops in the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until browned. Transfer to a plate and cover with the sauce.


I served this with roasted carrots and potatoes and steamed sugar snap peas from my garden. 🙂


Servings: 6      Serving Size: 1 pork loin chop with 1 1/2 Tbsp sauce

Calories: 154               Fat: 4.8g          Sat. Fat: 1.5g   Carbs: 5.8g

Sodium: 601.7mg        Fiber: 2.2g       Sugar: 3.1g      Protein: 23.7g

2 Responses to “Pork Scallopini with Kumquat Sauce”

  • Christina says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. It sounds delicious and my mouth is watering! It’s high in protein and low in fat. Also, cooking with kumquats is genious! I’m not sure if you know this, but kumquats are very lucky in some Asian cultures, hence it is encouraged to eat this fruit around Lunar New Year for some luck throughout the year. So, it looks like you will be very lucky this year of the dragon! Quick question, why did you pound the pork loins? Do you recommend doing this to other meats? When is it necessary?

    • Barbara says:

      Thanks, Christina! I did not know that about kumquats, but I’m happy to know that I made a lucky dish! To answer your question, I pounded the pork loins for three reasons: 1) the original cutlets were not much bigger than the size of my palm and I wanted them to be larger in surface area, 2) it was much easier than slicing them thin, and 3) I wanted them to cook fairly flat and breaking up the fibers in the meat will help keep them from curling.

      You can certainly do this with other meats (chicken, beef) although I don’t find that they have the curling problem as much as pork does so it may not be necessary depending upon your recipe. If I’m making a chicken fried steak (on rare occasion!), however, I will pound my cube steak with the spiked end of my mallet to tenderize it. Hope this helps!

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Hi! I'm Barbara and yes, I cook! Welcome to my world of mouth-watering delicious food that you don't have to feel guilty about.
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