Whew! What a weekend! Now it's back to work (yuck) and back to the kitchen (yay). I'm refreshed, renewed, and finding inspiration in lots of places. Today, I found it in the garden. My mixed lettuces and arugula were looking beautiful. I picked some, along with a variety of herbs for tonight's dinner.
Because we've had lots of seafood, chicken, and burgers lately, I opted to cook pork chops tonight. I'm not usually one for pork chops, because I often find them bland. For quite a while now, though, I've been planning to overcome this problem by brining the chops before cooking. That's exactly what I did and, in combination with a garlic-herb crust, they turned out divinely tasty and tender.
I paired the chops with a nice salad of lettuces, herbs, green beans, white beans, tomatoes, and vinaigrette. I used my standard lemon juice, salt, pepper, agave nectar, remoulade, flaxseed oil combination. You can use any vinaigrette you like.
Garlic-Herb Crusted Pork Chops
Brine the chops:
6 boneless, thin cut sirloin pork chops, trimmed of all fat
1/4 C kosher salt
1/2 C white wine
1 quart water
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a large container, combine all ingredients except for chops, stirring until kosher salt is dissolved. Marinate the chops in the brine in the refrigerator for 45 mins. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
While the oven is heating and the chops are marinating, make the breading:
3/4 C panko bread crumbs (I like Ian's brand)
4 Wasa Multi-Grain crispbreads, quartered
1 large clove garlic, quartered
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbsp fresh chives
2 large leaves, fresh basil
1 C flour
2 Tbsp remoulade sauce
1 egg + egg white (both should be extra large)
freshly ground black pepper
1) In a food processor, pulse the crispbreads, garlic, and herbs until a coarse meal is formed and no large chunks remain.
2) Add the panko crumbs, pinches of salt, cayenne, and black pepper, then pulse three times to incorporate. Set the breading mixture aside on a paper plate.
3) In a medium bowl, whisk the remoulade with the egg and egg white.
4) Remove chops from brine and dry with paper towels.
5) Place chops in a gallon-sized zippered bag with the flour and shake to coat.
6) Place a wire rack on a cookie sheet and spray lightly with spray oil.
7) Shake excess flour from chops one at a time and dip into egg mixture using tongs, making sure to let excess egg drip off.
8) Transfer each chop to breading. Coat both sides of pork chops with breading.
9) Place each chop on wire rack.
10) Bake approx 13 minutes, or until pork reaches an internal temp of 150 degrees.
Hot and Cold Bean Salad
variety of lettuces, washed and dried, bite-sized pieces
arugula, washed and dried
basil leaves, washed, and dried, chiffonaded
parsley leaves, washed and dried, chiffonaded
green beans, blanched, cooled in ice water, drained
white beans, boiled, drained
tomatoes, chopped or quartered
your favorite vinaigrette
1) Lightly season the green beans with salt and pepper, set aside.
2) In a large bowl, toss the lettuces, arugula, green beans, basil, and parsley with just enough of the dressing to lightly coat.
3) Place some of the salad on a plate, spoon some of white beans on top, add some of the tomatoes on the side and spoon about 1 Tbsp dressing over all. Top with pork chop(s).
This dish will probably go into rotation, since we'll have plenty of lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, and (eventually) beans as summer comes along.