Pork chops, especially fried ones, are pure comfort food. True to my Southern roots, I like them, really like them, but I don’t like the mess that a proper breading station requires, as in THREE pie plates- one with an egg-buttermilk mixture, another with seasoned flour, and a third with seasoned breadcrumbs or Panko. So I cheated and decided to marinate the pork chops in buttermilk and an herb vinaigrette and finish them with a panko crumb sans breading station, and ta-da: Italian Pork Chops were born, an infinitely easier, less mess chop. But sometimes a girl just wants a fried pork chop, especially one with a flavorful, crispy crust and juicy pork.
This recipe has got you covered the next time you get a serious pork chop craving. But I warn you that once you try this crispy pork wonder you might proclaim Friday pork chop day, along with Sunday and Tuesday. I use thin center-cut boneless pork chops. These chops require no pounding and cook quickly. Thin chops are about ¼-inch thickness. You can fry thicker chops as is or cover them in plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet or hammer to ¼-inch thickness. The danger with thicker chops is that the breading can brown before the chop is cooked through. Same thing with bone-in pork chops, because anything with a bone takes longer to cook, yet bone-in chops also have more flavor. Ultimately, do what works best for you. Bone or no bone, thin or thick, these chops win in the flavor department.
I turn to my go-to breading station to fry most anything. The mixture of seasoned flour, buttermilk (a magic tenderizer perfect for frying), and seasoned panko ensure tender, crispy, flavorful fry outcomes. Though I sometimes modify the spices depending on the protein, the basic breading works for chicken, fish, pork, shrimp, and chuck steak. I also use it to fry zucchini, eggplant, artichoke hearts, green tomatoes, stuffed jalapeno, even pickles, olives and cheese sticks. And I’m sure there are many, many more uses for this wonderful go-to breading. Dare I say it, I bet anything that can be fried works with the go-to breading. That sounds like a challenge to me, one that I’ll have to put to the test one of these days.
On this particular fry day, I conducted a mini challenge, frying green tomatoes, then eggplant (because we have a serious eggplant situation in our garden), and then the pork, all in the same breading. I learned during this fry-athon that once the breading station is in place, you might as well make it worthwhile and fry up everything and anything under the sun, just do raw proteins last and all will be well with the world. It was a fry-alicious meal, my favorite kind, especially with someone else on clean-up duty. Sadly, this was not the case. The takeaway: proper frying is a process, a messy one, but the end results are worth it. Though I’d be hard-pressed to pick a winner from the fry-down, the fried pork disappeared in a matter of minutes, just saying.