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Monday, March 3, 2008

"The Perfect Dinner"

Or so Number One said, per Mavis (I didn't hear it when he said it, and true to form he wouldn't repeat it). I don't know if I liked it better than the previous night's chicken (and the prep was a bit more complicated), but it was delicious and worth making again.

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops, Apple Slaw, steamed broccoli, roast Russian Banana fingerling potatoes.



Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
adapted from Cook's Illustrated Jan/Feb 2008

4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6-8 oz each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat (I had some random tenderloin ends instead, about the size of chops, so I just cut off the silver skin and went for it; I'll probably use chops next time)
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into one-inch pieces (I had a random collection of crusts in the freezer leftover from some other recipe. I had originally thought yesterday's homemade bread would have enough left over for this recipe, I didn't feel like buying a whole new loaf, and this stuff was at least white)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 T)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 1 T)
2 T vegetable oil
ground black pepper
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t minced fresh thyme leaves
2 T minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 large egg whites
2 T dijon mustard (Cook's calls for 3 eggs whites and 3 T mustard, and a little bit more flour, which I think would be possibly too much and wasteful; in any case I had plenty)

Preheat oven to 350. (Cook's calls for brining the meat, which I never do. If you want to--and if you are using injected/seasoned supermarket pork you unequivocally SHOULD NOT--they recommend 1/4 C table salt in 1 qt water in gallon zipper-lock bag. Squeeze air out of bag before sealing and refrigerate 30 minutes. Then rinse under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.)

Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, making about 3 1/2 C crumbs. Put crumbs on rimmed baking sheet with shallot, garlic, oil, 1/4 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper. Toss with your hands until oil coats crumbs and other ingredients are evenly distributed. Bake until browned and dried, about 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes. Remove baking sheet, but do not turn off oven. Let crumbs cool to room temperature, and toss with Parmesan, thyme and parsley.

Put 1/4 C flour in one shallow dish. In another, whisk egg whites with mustard until smooth, then mix in 1/4 C flour until fairly well blended but not entirely smooth.

Increase oven temperature to 425. Cook's calls for using a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet, but I only have the one rimmed baking sheet and no rack to fit it, so I used a nice broiler pan (with pointed ridges and therefore less contact with the meat). Season chops with pepper (oops, forgot that). Dredge each chop in flour, then use tongs to coat with egg white/mustard mixture, letting excess drip off. Coat all sides of chops with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently to help adhere, then transfer to broiler pan.

Bake until center temp of chops is 150, 17-25 minutes (20 was just right for mine). Let rest 4 minutes before serving. (Cook's serves with lemon wedges, obviously because they didn't have the following Apple Slaw recipe.)

Apple Slaw
from Real Simple, who knows how long ago

I think if I were serving this as a condiment, this recipe would make too much. That was my initial thought. But if you take it as a salad (and it works quite well as one), this is just the right amount. I think any firm and tart apple would work about as well as the Granny Smiths--this fall I hope to use the winesaps from my own tree.

2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks (I started out using a knife and quickly switched to the julienne blade on my mandoline)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 C sour cream
1/4 C chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/3 C toasted pine nuts

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4 Comments:

Blogger Cafe Johnsonia said...

It all sounds really good. I'm always looking for new pork recipes.

March 3, 2008 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Cafe Johnsonia said...

p.s. I just went through a few of your archives. Your children are DARLING!

March 3, 2008 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

Hey thanks! I think they're pretty awesome, too.

March 3, 2008 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger MWR said...

I can't decide whether that's an insult to Russians, or bananas.

March 3, 2008 at 11:46 PM  

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