Pork chops aren’t something I make very often, but these showed up in the “take-home” fridge at the office, so I thought I’d give them a try. They’re thick, bone-in chops, so the cooking time was a bit longer than if you use boneless chops, but the salsa would work well on either. Pork traditionally pairs well with fruit, and this white peach salsa was delicious.
I used a grill pan to cook the chops, as having a real out-in-the-backyard grill is a bit out of reach for apartment-dwellers, and it worked great. Pan-frying pork chops in just a little bit of oil would work well, too. I used an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temp of the meat while cooking. When it reaches 145-degrees, it’s safe to take off the heat. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes under a foil tent — this helps with the chop’s juiciness, and the internal temp of the meat will continue to rise to about 150-degrees.
Using a meat thermometer is the best way to ensure chops aren’t over- or under-done. Because people are so concerned about under-cooking pork, tough, chewy overdone chops are a frequent reality. Unfortunately, many companies now sell “enhanced” pork products to help keep them juicy even when overcooked. This basically means injecting the chops with a salt water mixture, which adds a hefty dose of sodium to what would otherwise be a nice cut of meat. If you do buy pork chops, check the ingredients list to see what’s included: it shouldn’t be more than just pork.
Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Salsa
Adapted from epicurious.com
– 3 white peaches, firm and ripe, pitted and chopped
– 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
– 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
– 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
– Salt and pepper, to season
– 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or cooking spray
– 2 pork chops,bone-in, about 1 1/2-inch thick
– 3 Tablespoons whole cumin seeds
– 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1. To make the salsa, gently combine the peaches, shallot, lime juice, and cilantro together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat the grill pan by turning the heat to medium-highand coat the pan lightly with oil. If not using a grill pan, pan-fry the pork chops in a skillet (if cast iron, preheat well, if nonstick, do not preheat as long — don’t let the oil smoke).
3. Meanwhile, crush the cumin seeds to coat the pork chops. Gently spread the seeds on a cutting board in a small pile. Using the bottom of a heavy pan or skillet, press down and grind by slightly rocking the pan you as you push downwards. Continue crushing until the cumin seeds become fragrant and roughly cracked. Using your hands, rub each pork chop thoroughly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and coat with the cumin seeds. Press the coating into the chops to make it stick.
4. Cook the pork chops: When the pan is hot, add the chops and sear each side, about 4 minutes on each side (it should make some noise when you add the chops to the pan). Turn the heat to medium and continue cooking the chops, about 12 to 15 minutes, flipping as needed, until a meat thermometer reads 145-degrees.
5. Transfer the chops to a plate, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer the pork chops to dinner plate and top generously with the peach salsa.