Friday, August 10, 2012

Crusty, Crunchy Mustard Pork Medallions

In reality these are just chicken fried pork chops, pounded flat with a mallet and well seasoned with mustard and thyme. But I find I make them (and get to eat them) more when I call them 'crusty, crunchy  mustard pork medallions' so voila.

If you're going to risk potential bodily harm and the lingering '24 hour diner' smell that comes with frying, then by all means go all the way. And all the way with this recipe means taking the time to soak the pork first in the buttermilk mustard bath. At least 6 hours or overnight.

Finally don't let the multiple steps scare you. They're all easy and if you do them in stages, it's actually a snap. You could even bread and refrigerate them a couple of hours before frying if you're  neat freak like me and don't like the idea of a ton of different breading bowls on your counter just before you sit down to eat.

Happy weekend y'all!

Crusty, Crunchy Mustard Pork Chops
Serves 2. Easily doubled.

Setup and ingredients:
2 boneless skinless pork chops, fat removed
Olive oil, or canola, for frying

Buttermilk Bath:
1/2 pint buttermilk
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon dried mustard
Pinch cayenne
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 smashed cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Grated nutmeg

pinch red pepper flakes, optional

Flour Dust:
1/2 cup flour mixed with a pinch salt and pepper (you may need more if your chops are bigger)

Egg Bath:
2 eggs, lightly beaten (again you may need more if your chops are huge)

Panko Coating:
2 1/2 cups panko
1 teaspoon dried mustard
grating fresh nutmeg

Mustard, honey mustard, or honey for serving

How to:
Mix together the buttermilk bath (buttermilk through the nutmeg and pepper flakes if using) and set aside. You can use a smaller bowl, tupperware or even a ziploc bag to hold it in.

Meanwhile, use a mallet to pound the pork to about a scant 1/4 inch. You want them uniformly pounded out - pretty thin - but not so thin that you start to make holes. It's less messy if you put them in a ziploc one at a time to pound them out.

Add the chops to the buttermilk bath, turning over so both are well coated. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or over night.

Remove from the fridge and use tongs to pull the pork out, shaking off the excess and patting lightly with paper towels. You don't need them bone dry, just not drippy. Dredge them in the flour/salt/pepper mixture getting both sides lightly coated.

Now quickly dunk each one into the egg bath, turning over to get both sides. Shake excess off lightly, then set in the panko mixture (panko tossed with dried mustard and fresh grated nutmeg), pressing into the crumbs lightly with your hands. Turn over and repeat until the chops are completely coated.

At this point, you can refrigerate them until you're ready to fry - up to 6 hours - or you can fry right away.

Fill a rimmed skillet or dutch oven about 1/4 to 1/2 inch with oil. You just want enough oil so that it comes up about halfway on the chops so don't go overboard. You can always add more.

Bring the skillet over medium high heat and let the oil heat through. You can test it by adding a pinch of panko to the pan. If it sinks, the oil isn't hot enough. If it sinks but then slowly rises to the top turning golden - you're ready.

CAREFULLY add the chops to the skillet (long tongs are best) and fry for about 4-5 minutes per side until deep golden. When cooked, transfer to some paper towels quickly patting them, then quickly to a cookie sheet so that the air can vent around them and they don't get soggy.

If you're making several or you aren't finished making your side dishes, you can keep the just fried ones in a low 200 degree oven. This will keep them nice and crispy.

Serve with yellow mustard, honey mustard, or even with honey or plain.