Sometimes the simplest things


Avocado.  Firm and dense, these California grown, incredibly fattening fruits are decadent, to say the least.   I wondered how to showcase this product given that guacamole can get so tired, so fast.  How about in its simplest form I thought? Sliced and placed on top of a multi grain piece of toast, I drizzled the slices with extra virgin olive oil and then sprinkled sea salt over the top.  When I bit in, I relished in the dense, almost cloying richness of the avocado set off by the crisp toast.  Sometimes there’s nothing better than to show off an ingredient’s inherent qualities.  Use the best quality olive oil and sea salt.  Try this one at home. You will not be disappointed.

Fried Pork Chops

Fried pork chop with arugula avocado salad

Fried pork chop with arugula avocado salad

As I turned the pork chops in the frying pan, I knew that these would be special. I’d never made fried pork chops before. My foray into pork chops was always oven fried, as in Shake and Bake (remember the TV commercial from the 70’s….. “and I helped!”). These were no shake and bake pork chops! After soaking in buttermilk for the better part of the afternoon, I gave them a quick egg wash, and then dipped them into seasoned panko crumbs.  And when I say seasoned I mean salt, pepper and a good tablespoon of creole seasoning!  And then, into the frying pan.  About 3-4 minutes on each side was all it took for the pounded pork chops to sear nicely and contain all of their juices until serving time!  Topped with an arugula avocado salad (which was dressed with a lime vinegraitte) and it was dinner time!

Fried Pork Chops with Arugula Avocado Salad

4 double cut pork chops, pounded into 1/3 inch thickness

2 cups buttermilk

Salt and pepper

2 eggs

2-3 cups Japanese Panko crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper

1-2 tablespoons creole seasoning (I used McCormick’s but feel free to use Emeril’s or whatever you like)

Peanut Oil for frying

3 cups arugula

2 avocados, chopped into 1/2 inch dice but not done until right before you serve

Juice from 2 limes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard Grey Poupon, Dijon, Creole…any mustard is fine

Place buttermilk in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper–a good amount. Soak the chops in the buttermilk in the fridge for 2-3 hours. If you’re making these for dinner putting them in the buttermilk at 2PM would be fine.  When ready to start making dinner, place the panko crumbs in a shallow pie pan and season with salt and pepper and the creole seasoning. Season heavily because panko is very loose and you don’t want the seasoning at the bottom of the shallow pan.  Stir well.  Beat up two eggs and season with salt and pepper.  Take each chop out of the buttermilk, shake off excess and dip in the seasoned eggs.  Then dip in the panko and press panko into the pork and set aside. Repeat with each chop.

Heat the oil in the frying pan (you may have to use two frying pans), about 1/4 inch of oil or so, and when it sizzles as you begin to place the chops into it, it’s ready.  Fry the chops for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Take out and keep warm in a foil covered dish.

Stir the lime juice and olive oil together with salt and pepper.  Add a teaspoon or so of any mustard.  Stir well. If you want to precut the avocado now would be a good time because you can toss it into the dressing and the acid will prevent the avocado from turning brown.  Toss this together with the arugula. Place a heaping handful on top of each chop.  Serve.  Serves 4.