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Pickled peaches spice up fried pork chops

Gretchen Mckay
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Peaches have started to make their summer arrival, and who can blame you if you turn them into some sort of sweet dessert like a pie or cobbler?

Yet the fruit also lends itself to a variety of tangy preparations, including pickles. (Yes, pickles!)

Soaked in a piquant brine of vinegar, sugar and spices, peaches go from sweet and juicy to an addictive marriage of sour and spicy. Spoon them onto a cheese plate, swirl with toasted nuts into yogurt or enjoy them as a side to fried chicken or sliced ham. In this recipe, the pickles are served alongside fried pork chops in a tangy swap for applesauce.

I use white peppercorn, which has a bit more heat than black peppercorns, and go heavy on mustard seeds. You also can add whole cloves or sticks of cinnamon.

The peaches are ready to serve in about a half-hour, but if you process the pickles in a water bath, you’ll be able to enjoy them through fall and winter.

Pickled peaches add a bright, summery note to fried pork chops.

Fried Pork Chops With Pickled Peaches

For peaches

2 cups white wine vinegar

1 1 / 2 cups water

1 / 4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns

2 tablespoons kosher salt

6 large ripe but firm peaches, pitted and diced small

For pork chops

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

1 cup regular or panko breadcrumbs

1 / 2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 / 2 teaspoon dried basil

1 / 2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage

4 boneless pork loin center cut chops

1 / 4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

For peaches: In a large saucepan, combine the white wine vinegar with the water, sugar, mustard seeds, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Put the diced peaches in a large, heatproof bowl and pour the hot brine over them. Let the peaches stand for 1 hour. Then refrigerate them for about 30 minutes until chilled.

For pork chops: Place flour in large shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place eggs in a second shallow bowl and whisk with spoon. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl and whisk in herbs.

Dredge a pork chop in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip it into the whisked eggs and then coat evenly with the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a plate or baking sheet. Repeat the steps with the remaining pork chops.

In a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet, heat olive oil and butter until shimmering. Add the chops to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels briefly.

Serve pork chops with pickled peaches on top.

Serves 4.

– Gretchen McKay