This one is from my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (Running Press). It’s in its third printing, and still going strong. In Nuyorican cooking, we prepare breaded pork chops in one of two ways. One method is to apply the breading and then bake slowly in a medium oven (350 °). The other way is listed in the recipe given. Here, lean pork chops are required, about ½-inch thick. They’re lightly pounded, breaded and then cooked in oil. Back on the block, breaded pork chops were usually served with a salad or yellow rice. But, you’re not confined to any mandatory accompaniment. In this instance we served our pork chops with pierogies. Yes, pierogies. The renowned dumplings of Eastern European origin normally filled with meat, vegetables or cheese. Remember, my friends, never be afraid to experiment. The results may amaze you.
Note that in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, the herbs are crushed in a mortar and pestle. I’ve been using one forever; and they can be found these days in any culinary shop, hardware store, or even supermarket. They are constructed of metal (usually aluminum), cast-iron or wood. I prefer the wooden ones since, over time, even after washing, the wood is infused with the herbal fragrance
(breaded Pork Chops)
8 lean pork chops, ½-inch thick, about 1½ pounds
10 whole black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
1. Rinse chops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a mortar, crush peppercorns, garlic, oregano and salt. Add olive oil and vinegar, and mix.
3 Place chops between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a mallet.
4. Rub seasoning into pork chops.
5. Dip each chop into the beaten eggs, then coat with bread crumbs, pressing bread crumbs on both sides with heel of hand.
6. Heat oil in a large skillet or frying pan and cook pork until golden brown (about4-5 minutes per side). Drain on adsorbent paper towels.
Yield: 4 servings.