In Milan, a chop usually means veal, but with the rise of good animal husbandry here in the U.S., there are all kinds of options available, so I prefer to use Berkshire pork for this recipe. Ask your butcher if they have any available. I believe there is a world of difference in the taste and texture of this heritage breed compared to other types of pork.
Technique tips: Frenching — cleaning the meat off a chop to expose part of the bone — prevents the eye of the meat that is pounded out from overcooking before the meat next to the bone is cooked. It also makes the finished chops look extra pretty. You can prepare this recipe without frenching the chops; just be careful that the meat next to the bones is fully cooked before serving.
The recipe for the Amatriciana sauce makes more than you need for serving here, but it can also be used to dress pasta and freezes well.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces slab bacon or pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
- Kosher salt
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 pork chops, about 8 to 10 ounces each, 3/4-inch thick, Frenched (ask your butcher to do this for you)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
For the Amatriciana sauce:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon or pancetta, and let the meat render its fat until it begins to crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Add the onion, cover the skillet, and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
Uncover and add the tomatoes, plus 1 cup of water. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, and cook until thick and flavorful, about 15 minutes.
For the pork chops:
1. Season each chop with salt and pepper.
2. Spread out the flour and breadcrumbs on two separate plates or sheets of wax paper. Beat the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl until thoroughly blended.
3. Dredge the chops in flour to coat them lightly and tap off any excess. Dip them in the beaten egg, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Move the chops to the breadcrumbs, and turn them over to coat completely, patting each gently to make sure the breadcrumbs adhere.
4. Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until a corner of one of the coated chops gives off a lively sizzle when dipped in the oil. Lay the chops in the oil and fry, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet, and bake until no trace of pink remains near the bone, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Remove the chops from the oven. If they look a little oily, drain them briefly on paper towels.
Spoon the sauce on four plates and serve the chops on top.