As temperatures cool off here in California, I often find myself craving heartier meals and richer flavors. When those cravings strike, Crispy Pork Chops with California Avocado and Arugula Salad is one of my go-to recipes.
To start, boneless pork chops—seasoned with salt, pepper and cayenne—get the standard breading treatment: flour, egg and breadcrumbs. I’m using panko breadcrumbs here, because I just love that crunch. Next, the chops are quickly fried until golden and crispy. The pork is finished with a salad of ripe California Avocado and arugula dressed in lemon and olive oil, and shavings on salty Parmesan cheese on top! This dish is easy enough to enjoy on a hurried weeknight, but impressive enough to serve at an intimate gathering with friends or family.
The ingredient list is pretty simple here, but keep in mind:
- You’ll want to start with thick, boneless pork chops that you can pound to 3/4-inch thickness. This will provide you with more surface area to bread and will help the pork cook quickly and evenly.
- Make sure your California Avocado is firm ripe. It should be soft and melting, but no so mushy that you can’t make nice, even slices.
- This dish loves lemon. The breaded pork loves lemon. The arugula loves lemon. The avocado loves lemon. So make sure you have a few lemons on hand, so everyone can get a good squeeze!
Pictured above is a standard breading station. The first bowl is filled with flour, the second with egg and the third with breadcrumbs. In this recipe, I’ve seasoned the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne, and the egg with salt and pepper. I don’t think it’s necessary to season the panko, because the pork chops get a sprinkling of salt right when they come out of the hot oil.
To bread, you dip the pork in the flour first, then in the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. At each step, you’ll want to tap or shake off any excess.
I would recommend using tongs to move the pork through each bowl, but you can also use the two hand method. Always use your left hand to touch dry ingredients and your right hand to touch wet ingredients. So you would use your left hand to dredge the pork in flour and lay it in the egg. Then pick it up with your right hand to coat it with egg and lay it in the breadcrumbs. Finish by coating the pork in breadcrumbs with your left hand. Either way works!
CRISPY PORK CHOPS WITH CALIFORNIA AVOCADO AND ARUGULA SALAD RECIPE
- 4 1½ -inch thick boneless pork chops
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 ripe California Avocado, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups baby arugula
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
- Working 1 at a time, place pork chops in a large zip-top bag, then, using a kitchen mallet, pound evenly to a 3/4 thickness. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Set 3 wide, shallow bowls on a work surface. Add flour to the first one; eggs to the second; and panko to the third. Season flour with a few pinches of salt, several turns of black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper, stirring to combine. Season eggs with salt and pepper, then beat.
- Working 1 pork chop at a time, dredge pork in the flour, shaking off excess. Then, dip pork in the egg until evenly coated, letting excess drip off. Finally, lay the pork across the panko crumbs, and turn around in the bowl until evenly coated. You can use your hands here to scoop and press crumbs onto the pork. Transfer the breaded pork chop to a clean plate and continue with the others.
- Pour a 1/4-inch layer of vegetable oil into a large, cast-iron skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the pork chops in the hot oil until golden on both sides and cooked through (about 3 minutes per side). Transfer pork chop to a paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with salt right away. Repeat with remaining pork chops.
- To serve, divide pork chops between 4 plates, then top each with sliced avocado and a heaping 1/4 cup arugula. Drizzle salad with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, then season with salt and pepper.
- Finish by grating slices of Parmesan cheese on top. Serve with extra lemon wedges.