This is my most requested recipe by friends and family. And by requested, I mean people invite themselves over for dinner and I ask ME to make it. They say they try to replicate it at home and it just doesn't turn out the same. I think it's because they don't take the time to brine the chops first and assume that crushed fennel seeds is a fine substituted for the pricey fennel pollen. It's NOT! Ever since I discovered this magical fairy dust, I sprinkle it (lightly! a little goes a long way) on so many dishes, and especially whenever I'm breading something for frying. Try making these chops and invest in fennel pollen and you'll never make them another way. You can also use this coating to make crusted cod, sole or chicken. Get the pollen! You're welcome :)
* the seasonings say "divided" because you will be adding them to both the flour and breadcrumbs.
*If you must substitute the fennel pollen with ground fennel seeds, split 1 tbs between flour and breadcrumbs.
*If cooking 4 to 6 pork chops, just double the flour, breadcrumb and spice amounts. 1 tsp of fennel pollen, divided, will still be enough.
*You can find fennel pollen and Piment D'espelette (another spice you should invest in!) on Amazon.
*I think the best side for these chops is my Radicchio, Pear and Manchego slaw. You can find the recipe in my profile. You can also find step by step through instructions for both on my blog. —Jenya | BlueGalley
bone in pork chops (if cooking 4 to 6, just double all other ingredients)
2 to 3 sprigs
4 to 6
5 to 8
whole black peppercorns
1/8 & 1/4 teaspoons
freshly ground black pepper, divided
Piment D'Espelette or 2 pinches of cayenne pepper
Lightly pound the pork chops (I just use the paper they came in or a plastic bag) avoiding the bone, just to flatten them slightly and make them even more tender. (If brining, you can skip this step. I like to do both)
Mix the salt and water, add the rest of the brining ingredients and submerge the pork chops. Place in the fridge and brine for 45 minutes put to 2 hours. (This is a good time to make your side, like my pear and manchego slaw)
Set up 3 bowls, one with the eggs, one with the flour and another with the breadcrumbs. Add 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/8 tsp of Piment D'Espelette (or substitute) and 1/4 tsp black pepper to the flour. Add 1/4 tsp salt and rest of Piment d'Espelette and pepper to the breadcrumbs. Divide the fennel pollen between the flour and breadcrumbs. Mix flour and breadcrumbs with spices and beat the eggs. It's a good idea to set up bowls in order for dipping: 1st flour, then eggs and then breadcrumbs.
Take a pork chop and dip it into the flour, making sure to coat all of it. Then dip in eggs and then coat well with the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the other pork chop (or others if cooking more) and then dip all the coated chops in into the eggs one more time and coat again with the breadcrumbs.
If your pork chops are very thick, preheat oven to 325 and finish cooking them in the oven so the crust doesn't burn. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium low heat. It's best to keep the heat on the lower side so the breadcrumbs don't brown too quickly. When the butter is melted and oil is hot, add the chops, 2 at a time, and cook without moving for 4 to 5 minutes. You want the crust to be golden, NOT dark brown. Take a peek, if it's browning too quickly, flip the chops sooner and lower heat slightly.
Turn chops over and cook other side, again for about 5 minutes. Chops are done when they register 145. If the crust is nice and golden, but chops are not done yet, cover the pan with foil and let them finish in the 325 oven for 5 to 8 minutes.
let the chops rest, loosely covered for 5 minutes before serving.