Piquant Pan-Cooked Pork Chops
Tangy With Mustard and Sliced Cornichons
- Servings: 2.
The subtle sweetness of pork chops combines perfectly with the piquant taste of vinegar, mustard, and the tiny French pickles called cornichons.
Buy your pork chops from a good butcher and ask him to cut the chops to 1/2-inch thickness. That way they'll cook in a skillet in less than two minutes a side.
The sauce comes together quickly in the same pan as the pork chops. This recipe cooks fast enough for a weekday meal and most of the ingredients you may already have on hand.
- 4 1/2"-thick boneless or with-bone pork chops
- 4 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into a fine (1/4") dice
- 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 cornichons, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Generously season both sides of the chops with salt and pepper.
- Sauté the chops until browned on each side and just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes a side. If the pan is large enough, cook all 4 at once. Otherwise cook them in batches so that you're not over-crowding them. Be careful to not overcook them.
- Transfer the cooked chops to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the hot pan, keeping the pan at medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and sauté, stirring often, until soft and just beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the vinegar and cook, stirring and scraping the browned bits until the vinegar is reduced by three-quarters, about 1 minute. Be careful when you add the vinegar to the hot pan because the acidic vinegar will send up a plume of cooked vinegar and you won't want to get a nose-full of this.
- Add the wine and keeping the pan at medium-high, cook the mixture until it's reduced by half, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in the sliced cornichons, mustard and any accumulated juices from the cooked chops.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
- Return the chops to the pan, turning them to coat in the sauce and keeping on a medium heat until the chops are warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Tip: Ask your butcher for Berkshire pork, one of the most flavorful types of pork (see our article about Berkshire). Don't be put off by Berkshire's unusually ruddy color as this is simply an indication that the pork still has some fat -- and flavor -- in the meat.
Tip: You'll find cornichons in most supermarkets; look for them with the pickles. Maille is an excellent brand or you can have the fun of shopping from one of New York's pickle specialists. See our merchant database. If a pickle merchant doesn't sell cornichons, a good alternative would be either a sour or a spicy sour pickle, although taste first so you know how much bite and spice you'll be adding to your recipe.
Because the sauce is so robust, serve with a plain white or brown rice and a simple green vegetable.