Crispy pan-fried pork chops are delicious but time consuming to make; usually they are coated first in flour, then in egg, then in bread crumbs before being pan-fried. We wanted to do all the prep work ahead so we could simply drop the pork chops into a hot skillet the next day, but when we tried to store the breaded chops overnight, the breading turned soggy and limp as the flour and bread crumbs absorbed moisture from the meat and the egg. Switching from flour to cornstarch helped to lighten and crisp our coating. To help the coating stick, we swapped the egg for buttermilk, which created a tacky layer that more effectively bound the crust to the chops. For added insurance, we made shallow cuts in the chops to release juices and sticky meat proteins, further encouraging the coating to adhere. Bread crumbs also absorb moisture quickly, so we swapped them for crushed corn flakes; tossed with additional cornstarch, they stayed crisp even after sitting overnight in the refrigerator. You can substitute 1 cup of store-bought cornflake crumbs for the whole cornflakes; omit the processing step and mix the crumbs with the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Be sure to buy chops of equal thickness to ensure they all cook at the same rate.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
- ⅔ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 cups (4 ounces) cornflakes
- Salt and pepper
- 8 (3-to 4-ounce) boneless pork chops, ½ to ¾ inch thick, trimmed
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- Lemon wedges
- Place ⅓ cup cornstarch in shallow dish. In second shallow dish, whisk buttermilk, mustard, and garlic until combined. Process cornflakes, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and remaining ⅓ cup cornstarch in food processor until cornflakes are finely ground, about 10 seconds; transfer mixture to third shallow dish.
- Pat chops dry with paper towels. Using sharp knife, cut 2 slits, about 2 inches apart, through outer layer of fat and silverskin. Then, cut 1⁄16-inch-deep slits on both sides of chops, spaced ½ inch apart, in crosshatch pattern. Season chops with salt and pepper. Working with 1 chop at a time, dredge in cornstarch, dip in buttermilk mixture, then coat with cornflake mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer coated chops to large plate and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Adjust oven rack to middle position, place prepared sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. Line large plate with triple layer of paper towels. Heat ⅓ cup oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 4 chops in skillet and cook until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes.
- Carefully flip chops and continue to cook until second side is golden brown and crispy and pork registers 145 degrees, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer chops to paper towel–lined plate, let drain for 30 seconds on each side, then transfer to rack in oven. Discard oil in skillet, clean with paper towels, and repeat with remaining ⅓ cup oil and remaining chops. Serve with lemon wedges.