From the food editor: I love this method for cooking pork chops

Crusted Pork Chop with Garlic, Rice and Greens. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
Crusted Pork Chop with Garlic, Rice and Greens. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
Published March 13 2018

As someone who really enjoys cooking, has to do it weekly for my job, and values the nutrition and wholesomeness of a from-scratch meal, I donít often turn to takeout when life gets hectic. Sure, there is the occasional Chick-fil-A, but for me lately the quickest path to a good meal during stressful times is the meal kit delivery service.

Yes, all of the necessary ingredients are sent to your house in a box, so there is no grocery shopping required, but these services are also terrific at providing cooking inspiration when thatís the last thing you want to think about.

I did this recently and picked up a couple of solid cooking techniques and ingredient suggestions that I will put to good use in my kitchen.

The first is this method for cooking pork chops. Are you ready for this? It is the heretofore unheard of technique called "lightly breading and pan-frying them." Yeah, well, I had somehow never really done this before with pork chops, and let me tell you, it was a revelation: They were the most perfectly cooked chops to come from my kitchen.

It shouldnít be that surprising, given that the whole idea is to coat the pork chops, pounded thin, in egg and flour and bread crumbs. Thatís rarely a bad call, but here it works to give the chops a mouthwatering golden crust and seal in a ton of moisture so that the pork doesnít dry out. These babies were super tender and juicy, buttery in texture but with a nice crispy and flavorful exterior.

The other hot tip I got from this round of meal kits was black garlic. Itís garlic, still in the clove, that has been sort of caramelized, heated slowly over weeks until the cloves turn black. Itís a lot more mellow than regular garlic, kind of sweet but also earthy and full of deep, umami flavor.

I had never cooked with the ingredient that is often used in Asian cuisine, so I was at first a little unnerved when the dark cloves very easily slithered out of their skins. Were they bad? Was this supposed to happen? No and yes, and once they are out of the skins they are then easily turned into a paste that can be worked into a simple aioli. And if youíre not ready for that kind of adventure? You can definitely use regular garlic in this recipe, mincing it finely and mashing it a little so itís more pasty, then mixing it with the mayo.

Crusted Pork Chops With Rice and Spicy Greens

Ĺ cup jasmine rice

2 boneless pork loin chops (about 6 ounces each)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Ĺ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

1 egg

For the greens:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 or 2 cloves peeled fresh garlic, finely chopped

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

3 ounces shredded leafy greens (such as kale or chard)

For serving:

1 or 2 cloves unpeeled black garlic (see column for substitutions)

ľ cup mayo

1 tablespoon sambal oelek (optional)

Make the rice: In a small saucepot, combine the rice and ĺ cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, cover and keep warm.

Make the pork: Pat the pork dry with a paper towel and place on a large piece of parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and pound with a meat mallet until half as thin as original chop, about Ĺ inch thick. Season generously with salt and pepper.

On separate plates, spread the flour and panko in an even layer and season with salt and pepper. Crack the egg into a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. With a fork, lightly beat until just blended.

Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge the pork in the flour, turning to coat; shake off any excess. Dip the pork into the egg; let the excess drip off, then lightly press the pork into the panko, coating all sides.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm 2 to 3 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the pork and cook, turning once, until golden brown but not yet cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, turning once, until the pork is still faintly pink within, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan.

Make the greens: In the same pan used for the pork, warm oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Working in batches if needed, stir in the greens and cook until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the peel from the black garlic cloves; using the side of a knife, smash the black garlic into a paste. In a small bowl, stir together the mayo and black garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the rice, pork and greens to individual plates. Serve the black garlic mayo and, if using, the sambal oelek.

Serves 2.

Source: Adapted from Sun Basket