No applesauce

March 4, 2010

Have I mentioned before how much I adore the PBS show America's Test Kitchen? Working there would totally be my dream job. Well, behind the scenes. The people on that show also do another program called Cook's Country which as far as I can tell is pretty much the same thing. My favorite part is The Equipment Corner with Adam. He gets a bunch of people to test out, say, 15 different vegetable peelers, and then tells you which is the best peeler, and which peeler is the best value. Oh, I love him. Adam, if you need an assistant, you call me, ok? Or find me on Twitter!

So the main point of the show is that they show you the BEST method to make a certain food something. And they tell you all the ways they tried before they got to this very BEST way, so you don't feel tempted to cheat and take a shortcut, because you know it will end up a sticky mess, or it will burn in the oven, or your sink will explode and flood your bathroom. Now, I'm not usually a real big fan of pork chops, but The Husband loves them, so when we saw this show together I agreed we could make them. I mean, they make everything look so good! Plus it had a crust. I think we all know how I feel about crusted protein.

I served the pork with sunchokes and a green salad. 

Crunchy Pork Chops, modified from America's Test Kitchen episode: The Crunchiest Pork Chops Ever
Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops, 3/4-1 inch thick*
1/8 cup salt

2 slices white sandwich bread, torn
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
5 tablespoons flour DIVIDED
1 egg white (if you double this recipe, use 3 egg whites), beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in two cups of water in a flat bowl. Add the pork chops for 30 minutes, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse the bread pieces in a food processor until you have crumbs. Pour the crumbs out onto a cookie sheet and add the shallot, garlic, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well with your hands until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring twice, until they are brown and crispy. Take them out, but keep the oven on. Pour the crumbs into a flat bowl, let them cool, then add the cheese, thyme and parsley.

Get out two more flat bowls or pie plates. In one, put 2 tablespoons of flour. In the second, add the beaten egg white and mustard. Whisk the other 3 tablespoons of flour into the egg/mustard.

Crank the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Put a wire rack on the same baking sheet you used for the crumbs and spray it with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil.

Remove the pork chops from their brine (you may have already done this if the 30 minutes has expired) and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Dredge them first in the flour, then in the mustard mixture, then press them into the crumbs. Put each chop on the baking sheet.

Bake for 17-25 minutes (depends on your oven and chop thickness). If you have an instant read thermometer, you want the inside of the chop to be 150 degrees.

*I bought our chops out of the butcher's case, rather than pre-packaged, and they were SUPER thick, so I just bought one and had the butcher split it in two.