Wednesday, January 7, 2009
From Miranda's Kitchen: Spicy Fried Pork Chops
Spicy Fried Pork Chops
I was blessed with the inspiration for this dish when I was visiting my sister and her husband in Seattle over the holidays. I wanted to make Salt Baked Shrimp for dinner, but Amy is no fan of our sea-dwelling friends. So, I though...hmmm, could I adapt this recipe with everyone's favorite animal - the pig? I gave it a whirl, with awesome results! The cornstarch makes the perfect light, crispy crust and the jalapenos infuse the meat with flavor...and heat!
2 Pork Rib Chops (important to use the fattiest chops from the rib), pounded thin
2 fresh jalapenos
2-3 Tbs cornstarch
2-3 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Pound the pork chops thin (particularly if they are very thick chops) - they should be around 1/2" thick. Divide the salt between the two chops and rub it into the flesh on both sides. Season liberally with freshly ground pepper. Let the chops sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Divide the cornstarch between the two chops and dredge them on both sides so they are well coated (shake off any excess). Roughly chop the jalapenos (if you don't want this too spicy, you can remove some of the seeds and white pith, but don't take it all away...this is also where the flavor is!).
In a large, heavy cast iron skillet (preferably a coated Le Creuset or something similar) heat enough canola oil to completely coat the entire bottom of the pan. Heat the oil until it is very hot, just below the smoke point (you may want to turn on the exhaust fan). Add about 1/4 of the chopped jalapenos and saute them quickly. When the jalapenos begin to brown, remove them from the pan and discard. Then add the chops. Sear them on one side until they are dark brown and very crusty. Adjust the heat as needed to keep them from burning but don't turn it too low (not below medium-high). Depending on your stove, the thickness of the chops, and the pan you are using, this will take anywhere from 3-7 minutes. Try not to disturb the chops for at least the first 3 minutes (they more you move them, the less they'll brown). Once they are dark golden brown, flip them over and cook them on the other side. Keep the temperature high. The interior of the chop should remain slightly pink (it should register 135 degrees on your meat thermometer). In the final minute of cooking, add the remaining jalapenos and saute. Serve the chops hot with jalapenos scattered on and around them.
This dish is great accompanied with oven roasted Yukon Gold potatoes (seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and roasted in wedges at about 375 degrees) served with a spicy aioli (think a roasted garlic aioli or a spanish paprika aioli). If you must sully the meat-and-potatoes gluttony with green veggies, a nice salad, steamed green beans, or the like would be good.