I have been obsessed with frying things ever since I read SeriousEats.com’s tutorial on Korean Fried Chicken. The technique they describe worked with chicken wings perfectly, so I wondered if I could do the same thing with other fryables. It worked very nicely with shrimp – creating something of a tempura-type crackling coating – but how about something really substantial? I mean, chicken wings are pretty small, and shrimp only get so big, too (to wit, at 4’10” am I perpetually addressed as ‘shrimp’ or ‘shortie’, neither of which makes me particularly happy). How’s about a meaty pork chop? My days in the south exposed me to the wonders of a perfectly fried chop, coated with a buttermilk batter and pan fried, served usually with a white gravy and some collards. I decided to work up my own version of a fried pork chop, using a simple flour/vodka slurry as the breading, some sweet potatoes and mushrooms as the complements, and my favorite soy sauce cream gravy (click here to see a variation on the theme). The results were fantastic!
Crispy Fried Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes, Dark and Creamy Umame Gravy
2 thick, center-cut pork chops
3/4 cups corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup gin or vodka
vegetable oil for frying
8-10 button mushrooms
2 medium sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
snipped scallions/chives for garnish
I love pork chops, especially when they look like little T-bone steaks, like these. This cut includes both a little of the tenderloin as well as the regular rib meat, which provides some textural variety on the plate.
I add enough vegetable oil to a deep-sided pan to just cover the chops, and I bring this to a medium high temperature – about 350°F. Of course, I don’t have a thermometer to help me gauge this, so I just drip a little flour batter into the pan periodically until the drop immediately sizzles and starts to brown upon hitting the surface of the oil. It’s ready for my chops at that point.
I slide both chops carefully into the oil, making sure not to splatter myself like I usually do. (Thank God for OxyClean, or just about all my clothes would have constellations of oil drips on them.) Since these chops are thick, I let them fry for about 10 minutes on each side.
These savory pork chops have a cracking, super-crunchy, egg-shell thin coating are super-tender and juicy. The simple sweet mash is offset by a rich, dark, silky and fragrant soy cream gravy, and each button of mushroom bursts with flavor on the tongue. Not only is this a very easy recipe, but it presents itself elegantly on the plate, and can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Now, what else can I fry?