Here, juicy brined pork chops are seared to golden brown, then topped with tangy quick-pickled onions for serving. For a special meal, add fingerling potatoes roasted with rosemary and sauteed Brussels sprouts. Here’s a butcher’s tip: the thicker the cut, the lower the temperature should be; there’s nothing like high heat to dry out a pork chop.
Panfried Pork Chops with Pickled Red Onions and Thyme
For the pickled red onions:
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) red wine vinegar
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) dry red wine
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar
1 Tbs. yellow mustard seeds
2 Tbs. black peppercorns
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 small or 1 large red onion, cut crosswise into rings 1/4 inch (6 mm.) thick
4 bone-in pork rib chops, each about 7 oz. (220 g.) and 3/4 inch (2 cm.) thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
2 small fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
To make the pickled onions, in a saucepan over low heat, combine the vinegar, wine, sugar, mustard seeds, peppercorns, red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons salt. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the onion rings, bring the liquid to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Let cool completely before serving. Alternatively, transfer the hot onions and liquid to a sterilized jar, cover tightly and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator, pat the chops dry, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 170ºF (75ºC) and place a platter in the oven to warm.
Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add half of the oil and the thyme sprigs. When the oil is shimmering, add 2 chops and sear without moving them for 2 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook until golden and firm to the touch, about 2 1/2 minutes more. Transfer the chops to the platter and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining oil and the remaining chops.
Arrange the chops on plates and top with the pickled onion. Garnish with minced thyme and serve at once. Serves 4.
Recipe from The Cook & the Butcher, by Brigit Binns.