For some reason, my husband keeps coming home from the grocery store with pork chops. The last time he did, I confronted him. “Why do you keep buying pork chops? The freezer is already full of pork chops. There’s no more room for pork chops!” His defense? They were on sale.
So needless to say, I need to find things to do with pork chops. I found one answer in the ATK Book. This is a surprisingly simple recipe that sounds a bit weird. The main ingredient in the crunchy breading is Melba toast and it uses mayonnaise to stick the breading to the pork. So first, I had to take a box of Melba toast and beat it into submission.
Unfortunately, Melba toast doesn’t seem to be a natural sub. I followed instructions and put the toast into a ziploc bag and pounded it with a meat mallet. At first, this was satisfying and fun, but I soon got the toast broken into smallish pieces about 1/4 inch in size and it resisted all my attempts to break it down any further. The Book says to leave some pieces about the size of pebbles and not to break it down too far. So…what exactly is the size of a pebble? This is not helpful, Mr. Book, although it may be poetic. Eventually I was worn out and I just gave up on beating the Melba toast. Even though I thought the pieces were too big to stick well, I just called it close enough.
My ziploc bag was leaking in several places by this point from the sharp pieces of toast that refused to break. So I dumped it in a bowl and added the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, sugar, and 1 tbsp of mayo. Then I slathered the pork chops with mayo and spread it with my hands before breading each piece. I did my best to keep as much crust on the pork as possible, but quite a lot fell off immediately. The pork goes on a wire rack over a baking sheet and then into the oven.
Now, the instructions say to cook until a thermometer reads 135 or 16-22 minutes. I just got a probe thermometer for my birthday, so I decided I would take it for a spin. I inserted the thermometer into one of the larger pork chops and was careful to keep it in the middle of the chop as I inserted them. I closed the oven door on the cord and set the alarm for 135 degrees. The alarm went off after a little while. I was aware that it hadn’t been 16-20 minutes, but I really didn’t want to overcook the pork so I removed it from the oven. I let them rest, but it wasn’t until I returned to them after a few minutes that I realized that under the golden brown crust, all I could see was pink, raw pork. So…my pork was raw.
Back into the oven it went. I finally pulled it and then took its temperature after it was out and got about 135 on all of the chops. Then I was instructed to rest the chops until the temp reached 145-150. I waited, took the temp, waited, took the temp and I could barely get to 140 and then the temp started back down. So I cut one open and it was completely cooked. So we ate. And it was really good. Different, but crunchy and pretty moist. Justin loved it. So, as weird as the process was, this was definitely a winner. And one of these days I’ll learn how to use a thermometer.