Monday, May 28, 2012

Herb-Crusted Pork Chops

These are a pretty easy weeknight meal. You don't have to brine the chops, but I just find they're kind of tough if you don't. Pork is so lean these days. You can use bone-in pork chops or pork loin chops. I prefer the thicker cuts. If you are going to brine them, you'll have to think a little ahead. Frankly, I didn't, so these only brined for about an hour. Who knows if it actually made any difference or not? But they were still tasty.

To brine a couple of chops, mix half a cup of kosher salt and half a cup of sugar with four cups of cold water in a medium bowl. Stir it until the sugar and salt dissolve. Then put the chops in and stick the bowl in the fridge for as long as you can - overnight, if you've planned ahead. An hour if you're me.

When you're finished brining, take the chops out, dump out the brine, and pat the pork chops dry. Sprinkle them with just a little kosher salt (they'll already be somewhat salty from the brine) and cracked black pepper.

Put three flat bowls in a row. In the first one, put half a cup of flour. In the second, beat one egg with half a cup of buttermilk. In the third one, mix together a cup of breadcrumbs with a tablespoon of minced rosemary, a tablespoon of minced basil and a tablespoon of minced parsley. You can use any other herbs you like. This is just what I had on hand in my pitiful excuse for an herb bed. My basil is dying. I have no idea why.

Dredge the chops first in the flour, and shake off the excess. Then dip the chops in the egg mixture, then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. You can kind of press the breadcrumbs into the chop. Yes, my hands were clean.

Heat a medium pan over medium heat. I used a cast iron skillet, because I was born in Arkansas, and I know they make food taste better. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When the butter is melted and foamy, add the pork chops.

Cook them until the breadcrumbs are browned and the pork is done in the center. How long is going to depend on how thick your chops are, but these took about 7 minutes per side. They were about an inch thick.

Drain them on paper towels, then serve. If you'd like to crust up some pork chops in your own cast iron skillet (or any other pan), here is the .pdf.

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