Buttermilk “Fried” Pork Chops

buttermilk_fried_pork_chopsMakes 4 Servings
Hands-On Time: 30 Minutes
Total Preparation Time: 1 Hour (Add 30 minutes if freezing before cutting.)

Suggested Accompaniments
sautéed apples and cabbage and butternut squash or sweet potato puree

Four 1/2 –inch-thick boneless pork chops (about 1 pound)
1 c buttermilk
1 t Tabasco
Kosher Salt
1 garlic clove
2 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
6 to 8 T extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
2 T fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
4 lemon wedges

1. If time permits, freeze the pork chops for 30 minutes to make them easier to cut. Carefully cut each horizontally to make 2 thin chops for a total of 8 chops. Sprinkle a small amount of water into a large resealable plastic bag. Place a pork chop in the bag and close, leaving 1/2 inch open. Pound with a rolling pin or meat pounder until the chop is about 1/8 inch thick; remove and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chops.

2. Whisk together buttermilk, Tabasco, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; press in the garlic (about 1 teaspoon). Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Place the pounded chops in the bag with buttermilk mixture and marinate at room temperature, turning several times, for 30 minutes.

3. Spread out the bread crumbs in a pie plate lined with wax paper or parchment. Remove the chops from the marinade and season them with salt. Working with one chop at a time, toss the chop in the bread crumbs, lifting the wax paper on both sides to move the chop around; shake off the excess crumbs.

4. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot; add half the chops. Sauté them, turning once for 3 minutes per side, or until golden and just cooked through. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining chops, adding more oil if necessary. Chop the parsley (about 1 tablespoon).

5. Divide the pork chops among 4 dinner plates, top each portion with come chopped parsley, and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Cook’s Notes
These pork chops are delicious hot, at room temperature or even chilled. In the summertime you can serve them on top of a big salad and drizzle them with ranch dressing (made with some of the rest of the buttermilk you used to soak the pork chops in). Here is a quick recipe:

Buttermilk dressing: Whisk together ½ cup buttermilk, 1/3 cup low fat mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons rinsed, dried, and chopped fresh mixed herbs (tarragon, chives, parsley), ½ teaspoon minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Contrary to what you might think, buttermilk is very low in fat and calories. Originally, it was the liquid left over from the butter-making process, but these days it is a cultured product made by adding a bacteria to low or nonfat milk. It is almost as thick as cream and has a taste reminiscent of yogurt. Buttermilk can be consumed straight up (it is an acquired taste), but it is especially useful in baking and cooking. It makes a good marinade for chicken because it is a tenderizer.

Buttermilk keeps about two weeks in the fridge, but if you don’t think you are going to use it up in that time you have a few alternatives. You can make your own for baking purposes by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice and letting the mixture stand for 10 minutes. You can also purchase buttermilk powder, which has a shelf life, unopened, of one year and lasts even longer when stored in the fridge. To use it in a recipe you can reconstitute it either by combining 1 cup of water with 4 tablespoons of the powder, or by adding the dry powder to the dry ingredients and the water to the wet ingredients.

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