Flavor pork chops with a buttermilk marinade
Summertime and the living is easy. Dinners can be casual, thrown together at the last minute. But when the kids start heading back to school, it’s time to switch gears; dinner usually needs to be planned and punctual.
This recipe fits nicely into that back-to-school tempo. It requires five minutes in the morning whipping up a buttermilk marinade for the chops and 10 minutes to cook in the evening.
The chops in question are crosscut slices of pork loin, also known as boneless pork chops. I recommend the really thin ones, no more than half-an-inch thick, which helps the marinade work its deep magic. This cut of meat is very lean. That’s good because the chops are low in saturated fat; that’s bad because the lack of fat translates into a lack of moisture and a lack of flavor. But not to worry — this recipe’s buttermilk marinade picks up the slack.
I was inspired by our friends below the Mason-Dixon line, who like to soak their chicken in buttermilk before frying it. Then I added salt, which helps protein retain liquid while deeply flavoring it. Finally, I threw in smashed garlic cloves and some chipotle hot sauce. The hot sauce provides a tiny bit of the advertised heat along with some lip-smacking smokiness. (If your family is anti-spicy, leave it out.)
The chops are coated in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, which provide crunch, and seasoned breadcrumbs, which glue all the breadcrumbs together. Top with some chopped parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon.
It’s important to cook the chops until they’re just pink, otherwise, they’ll be tough.
CRISPY BUTTERMILK SOAKED PORK CHOPS
Start to finish: 8 hours, 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
Servings: 4 to 6
1½ cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce (optional)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, smashed well
1½ pounds thin (about 1/3rd-1/2-inch thick) boneless pork chops
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
5 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/3rd cup finely chopped parsley
4-6 lemon wedges
In a pie plate or re-sealable plastic bag, combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, salt and garlic, whisking the mixture in the bowl or shaking the mixture in the bag until the salt is dissolved. Add the chops, making sure they are submerged in the liquid, and marinate them, covered or sealed, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
On a sheet of parchment combine the panko and the dry bread crumbs. Working with one chop at a time, lift it out of the marinade letting the excess marinade drip off; coat the chop well with the bread crumbs.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil over high heat until it is hot. Reduce the heat to medium and add half the chops. Cook for 1½ minutes, add another tablespoon of the oil and turn the chops over, cooking them on the second side for another 1½ minutes or until they are barely pink inside. Transfer the chops to a plate; cover with foil to keep them warm. Repeat the procedure with the remaining oil and chops.
Top each portion with some chopped parsley; serve with a wedge of lemon.
Nutrition information per serving: 353 calories; 188 calories from fat; 21 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 92 mg cholesterol; 718 mg sodium; 9 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 30 g protein.