Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Herb Crusted Pork Chops

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Pork. It's what's for dinner. We haven't had pork chops in while and when I spotted a sale last week, I took advantage of it and bought some to prepare. There's quite a few ways to prepare pork chops, especially since it often times can be a bland cut of pork. Tonight, I wanted something flavorful and savory, as well as a recipe that called for lots of fresh herbs.

I did some searching and came across a recipe for an herb crusted pork roast on the Cook's Illustrated website. Even though I didn't have a pork roast to work with, I took the herb crust mixture from the recipe and used that to coat my pork chops. It was a delicious idea and I plan on using this herb crust mixture again in the future.

The herb crust recipe originally called for a slice of bread, but I preferred to use panko breadcrumbs. To the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and a touch of oil was added. Then in a food processor, a mixture of 4 different herbs (parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary) , garlic and onions was processed to make a herb paste... which was then added to the breadcrumbs. The resulting mixture makes for a wonderful coating to crust pork chops and would probably be great with chicken or even fish like salmon and tilapia.

Another plus is that this herb crust can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator or even freezer until ready to use. This is a great way to save time on a weeknight (like tonight) where I just seasoned the pork chops, dredged in flour, dipped in egg wash and coated the chops in the herb crust. It may not be as quick as a boxed mix like Shake 'n Bake, but I can assure you it's much more flavorful!


Herb Crusted Pork Chops
recipe inspired by Cook's Illustrated

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, whole
4 thick cut pork chops

1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup olive oil for frying



Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using fork, toss mixture until crumbs are evenly coated with oil.

Add parsley or basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, onion, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to now-empty food processor workbowl and process until smooth, about twelve 1-second pulses.

Combine the breadcrumbs and herbed mixture to make the herb crust; aside.

In a shallow dish, whisk the egg with the 1 tablespoon of water.

In another shallow dish, place the flour.

Heat a skillet over medium low heat with the 1/4 olive oil and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a parchment or foil lined baking sheet handy as well.

While oil is heating, season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the pork in flour and shake off excess. Dip the pork in the egg wash and then press it into the herb crust mixture to cover all sides.

When oil is hot, carefully place the crusted pork chops in the hot oil and fry until browned on both sides, about 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pork chops. Transfer the browned chops onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

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