Oven fried pork chop with garlic and herbs roasted red potatoes and spinach sauteed in bacon fat.

Tonight I wanted to try oven frying. The concept intrigues me. To put something in the oven and have it come out as crispy as if it was fried? Yes, please.

I started with some GORGEOUS pork chops selected by my fabulous husband. They were about an inch thick. I am the Queen of Underseasoning so the first thing I did was give each chop a healthy coating of salt and pepper on both sides. I like double breading for fried foods. For the first breading, I started with Italian seasoned bread crumbs. They tasted kind of boring to me so I added oregano, parsley, sage, coriander, basil, thyme, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I combined all of that and put it in a ziploc bag with the pork chops and sealed it up. Yes, I created my own shake and bake. Once I was satisfied that the chops were well covered they got an egg bath. I noticed that some of the seasonings I really wanted didn’t seem to stick to the chops so I added some of the breading mixture to some panko bread crumbs. After the egg bath I coated the chops with the panko mixture. I didn’t like the idea of the pork chops sitting in a pan soaking up their own juices as they cooked. I wanted crispy. So I took my wire cooling rack and placed it on a cookie sheet. This way the juices could fall away from the pork chops and all sides would stay crispy. This worked very well. Crispy on top and bottom. Because the pork chops were so thick they took about 25 minutes to cook in a 425 degree oven. I recommend turning the pork chops at least once, about halfway through the cook time, to evenly brown the breading. Since we weren’t really sure how long these were going to take they got flipped once after 10 minutes.

For starch, it’s usually potatoes in our house. I didn’t want mashed again so I roasted them at 425 degrees for about 50 minutes. I did about 2 pounds of red potatoes, chopped into chunks about an inch thick. I put them in a bag with minced garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and the same seasonings as the pork chops minus the bread crumbs, ancho chili powder, and smoked paprika. They were gorgeous.

For the veggie I had originally intended mustard greens, of which I am a fan. But I happened to have most of a 5 oz package of baby spinach in the fridge so I just sauteed it for a few minutes in about a tablespoon of bacon fat we keep in the fridge. Totally healthy, I know. A little salt and the spinach was perfect.

I have to say I am a HUGE fan of oven frying right now. Totally crispy but light because there’s no oil involved. Those were the best damned pork chops I have ever made. Perfectly cooked and juicy and the flavors in the bread crumbs were incredible. Tooting my own horn here, this meal was my best success yet. Toot toot!

For the pork chops:
An appropriate number of pork loin chops for the amount of people you are feeding, 1 inch thick.
1 cup of Italian Seasoned bread crumbs.
About two teaspoons each of oregano, parsley, sage, coriander, basil, and thyme.
About 1 tablespoon each of ancho chili powder and smoked paprika.
Salt and pepper to taste.
2 beaten eggs.
Maybe a cup or so of Panko bread crumbs.

Give each side of the pork chops a healthy coating of salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs and seasonings up then add to a large ziploc bag. Put the pork chops in the bag, seal it, then shake it until the chops are coated with the bread crumb mixture. I would then take some of the bread crumb mixture and add it to the panko bread crumbs for extra flavor. Not much, maybe a quarter of a cup. Coat each pork chop in egg, making sure to get all of the surface covered. I allow the excess egg to drip off, personally. Coat the entire chop with the panko mixture and put the finished product on a cooling rack that is sitting on a cookie sheet to catch any drips. If you don’t have this setup, I read in a recipe for oven fried pork chops that you can put melted butter in a baking dish to crisp up the bottom but I decided not to try that.

Put in a 425 degree oven. The time it takes to cook will depend on the pork chops. It took about 25 minutes for 2 1-inch thick chops in my oven. Try to turn the pork chops at the halfway point. We let the pork chops rest for a few minutes while I sauteed the spinach.

For the potatoes:
2 pounds of red potatoes.
To taste: salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, sage, coriander, basil, and thyme.
3 or 4 large cloves of garlic, minced.
Enough olive oil to coat the potatoes.

Put the chopped potatoes in a large ziploc bag and add the seasonings. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the potatoes generously. Shake it all up to evenly distribute the seasonings. Pour it all out onto a cookie sheet large enough to accommodate the potatoes in a single layer. Put in a 425 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or as long as it takes to get a nice golden brown color to them.

{March 4, 2012}