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Fried Pork Chops with Squash Pickles and Espresso Aioli
Isaac Toups' Fried Bone-In Pork Chops + Cane Syrup Hand Pies
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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4.0 (2 rated)
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Adding espresso to food may seem like a way out there idea, but coffee is actually a great ingredient to pair with proteins — think red-eye gravy. The bold taste of the espresso complements the creaminess of the aioli and peps up the flavor profile of the whole dish.


  • Pork Chops

    • 1 quart buttermilk
    • 1/8 cup salt
    • 1/8 cup green hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
    • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Four 1/2-inch thick bone-in heritage pork chops
    • Peanut oil, for frying
  • Squash Pickles (makes 1 quart)

    • 4 cups 1/8-inch thick rounds yellow squash
    • 1¼ cups white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Espresso Aioli

    • 4 egg yolks
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 2 cups neutral vegetable oil, like canola
  • Breadcrumbs

    • 2 quarts plain bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup salt
    • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon cayenne


For the pork chops:

Combine the buttermilk, salt, hot sauce and pepper in a nonreactive container. Add the pork chops and let brine for 24 hours.

For the squash pickles:

1. Pack the sliced squash in a food-safe container, like a 1-quart Mason jar.

2. In a saucepan set over high heat, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, curry powder and pepper flakes (if using). Stir one good time when you put everything in the pot, and then leave it alone as the liquid comes to a boil.

3. After it has boiled, pour the hot liquid over the squash. Let it cool down to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate.

4. These will keep refrigerated and tightly covered for up to 2 weeks.

For the espresso aioli:

In a food processor, combine the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, espresso powder, brown sugar and salt. Pulse several times until all ingredients are mixed together. With the motor running, very slowly drizzle in the first 1/2 cup of oil; once the oil has emulsified, you can pour in the rest. The whole process should take about 30 seconds. Keep refrigerated and use within 4 days.

For the breadcrumbs:

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix well.

To cook and serve:

1. Remove pork chops from marinade removing any excess.

2. Coat the pork chops in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure to cover pork chops well with crumbs.

3. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat with about 1/2-inch of peanut oil until the oil reached 350°F.

4. Fry the chops for 5-7 minutes each until golden brown and reach the internal temperature reached 165°F.

5. Serve hot with squash pickles and espresso aioli.

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