The inspiration for this dish came via the Venice episode in Season 2 of Somebody Feed Phil. The show’s host, Philip Rosenthal, revisited Da Arturo which, he said, “For some reason is legendary with Hollywood types.” With an introduction like that, I was expecting some hyped-up chichi place that “Hollywood types” patronize. But, no, Da Arturo is nothing like that.
Mr. Rosenthal revisited Da Arturo to enjoy the pork chops he had there two years earlier, and to show viewers how the dish was cooked. “The best pork chops the world has ever seen,” he described it. A huge pork chop, bone-in, was pounded, floured, dipped in egg, coated with bread crumbs and fried until golden and crisp. The oil was poured off the pan and the pork chop was doused with white vinegar which got soaked up fast in the heat. That’s the best pork chops the world has ever seen?
Frying floured or breaded meat and then soaking it in seasoning might sound counter-productive but, believe me, it works. The Japanese chicken nanban is cooked that way and this fried pork chops dish is prepared in pretty much the same fashion.
Sweet Sour Fried Pork Chops
For the glaze
- ¼ cup rice wine
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup light soy sauce I used Kikkoman
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- sliced scallions
- toasted sesame seeds
- Press both sides of the pork chops with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Sprinkle the pork chops on both sides lightly with salt and pepper.
- Toss the pork chops in corn starch.
- In a wide frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least an inch.
- Over high heat, fry the pork chops in hot oil (in batches if your frying pan cannot accommodate all of them at once), about two minutes per side (a minute longer if rather thick) until the surface turns golden and crisp.
- Scoop out the fried pork chops and move to a rack.
- Pour off the cooking oil.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce and pour into the pan. Boil for about a minute.
- Drop the fried pork chops into the boiling sauce making sure they do not overlap. Cook for half a minute then flip over to cook the other side for another half a minute. Do this in batches so that every inch of the pork chops get soaked in the sauce.
- Serve the pork chops over rice topped with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds.