Most of the time, I want food that is warm and filling: comfort food. And sometimes it’s hard to find comfort food that doesn’t take all day to prepare (have you ever made fried chicken? All. Day.) and is moderately healthy. Enter the other white meat: pork. When eaten as a chop (get the boneless chop, butterflied if you aren’t a big meat eater, and split it apart so it gives you 2 thin chops) and trimmed of the side of fat, it’s lean and delicious.
I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this on Everyday Italian (and may I just take a moment to say that I heart Giada…the woman who showed me that Italian food is not just pasta and red sauce) and it has become one of my “signature” dishes. I like it because it’s easy but impressive for guests (I have a good friend who is a restaurant manager and asked me for the recipe because he liked it so much), relatively cheap to make, and DELICIOUS! What more could you want?
Herb and Parmesan Crusted Pork
- Pork chops, boneless. I trim the fat off the side to make it healthier and so you don’t get that wad of gristle. Because, gross.
- Grated Parmesan cheese. You don’t have to get fancy – the stuff in the green plastic can will work best, actually.
- Italian breadcrumbs. Natch.
- 1 egg, beaten. My health and time trick? Egg Beaters. Use them, they’re awesome.
- Olive oil and vegetable oil. You’ll be combining these in the pan to cook the pork. Olive oil alone will “burn off” faster, so the veggie oil offsets this and keeps the smoke alarm from going off. I learned this the hard way. You’ll need quite a bit of oil – if you’re trying to use your last tablespoon, it ain’t gonna cut it.
First things first: heat that pan! Combine your 2 oils until its completely covering the bottom of the pan in a thick layer. Heat the pan to medium-high. When the oil starts to look really liquidy/glassy, it’s ready.
I like to get everything lined up assembly line style: pork on one plate, egg in a shallow bowl, and the Parmesan and breadcrumbs combined in a 1/3 Parm, 2/3 breadcrumb ratio mixture. This isn’t an exact science, so you’ve got plenty of room to fudge and it’ll still taste great!
Prepare your pork by dipping it first in the egg to coat, then into the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture, turning to coat evenly.
When the oil is hot, place the chops in the pan. Be careful! The oil is hot, and this sucker is going to splatter while it cooks. Have tongs at the ready. Cook on the first side about 5 minutes for a thick chop, about 3-4 minutes for half of a butterflied chop. Carefully flip and cook for another 5 minutes or so. You want the color to be a darkish brown – this isn’t going to brown up light and lovely. I also will turn thicker chops on each side (the skinny side so it stands up like a book – you may have to hold it there with the tongs) to make sure the chop is cooked through.
You may need to add more oil to your pan as your cooking. You’ll know if the oil gets too low because the pan will start smoking like nutso. Keep your stove top fan on high the whole time you’re cooking this dish and just be ready for it.
Incidentally, I find that this is one of those great dishes to prepare with a glass of red wine in one hand while you’re watching the stove. This is less than 30 minutes from start to finish, so just the right amount of time to enjoy a glass of vino.
I like to serve this with Brussel sprouts, roasted potatoes, wilted spinach, or a Parmesan cous cous. Enjoy!