I bet every cook has his Waterloo: those dishes that on occasion bring him to his knees. For some is baking, mine is meat.
I’ve never been a big meat lover, even if in my time I’ve eaten a few questionable meats that would give a lot of you nightmares. Meat is meat, after all. But I’m a veggie and seafood kind of gal. I can cook seafood in my sleep and with my eyes blindfolded. Seafood is one of those foods I can say I’ve truly mastered.
Pork chops aren’t. Until now. These pork chops with green mango salsa just hit the spot.
Unfortunately, my husband is an enthusiastic carnivore, the only one under our roof. My poor lesser half has been subjected to many of my experiments, some random successes and the occasional disaster.
And I could never get pork chops consistently right. Like many a cook has found out, pork chops tend to turn dry and tough if done wrong. I’ve had that experience many times, but I think I finally got it. The trick: High heat, short cooking time.
An hour marinating, plus very-hot-but-quick cooking did the trick.
And because I love, looooooooove mangoes, I figured they would go perfectly well with the pork chops. I was right, after all, everything is better with mango. Don’t be put off by this combination, the mangoes are not completely ripe, so they are not too sweet and retain their shape and texture. Serve with rice and you’ll have a quick, flavorful dish bursting with tropical flavors.
To make the marinade I returned to one of my favorite products: Mizkan rice vinegar. Rice vinegar is mild enough that it doesn’t ruin the taste of the pork chops, and it’s perfect for enriching and infusing the other flavors in the marinade.
- 1 cup of sugar-free mango juice
- ¼ cup of Mizkan natural rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of freshly-cracked pepper (or more to taste), divided
- 1½ teaspoon of kosher salt (or more to taste), divided
- 12 thin-sliced, boneless pork chops
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 large red onions, diced
- 2 large unripe mangos, peeled and diced (see notes)
- 3 tablespoons of frying oil (corn, peanut or soy), divided
- ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon of chili flakes (or more to taste) [optional]
- Mix mango juice, vinegar, ½ teaspoon of freshly-cracked pepper and a teaspoon of kosher salt. Place the pork chops in a zippy bag, add the mango mix, marinate in the fridge for two hours.
- Once the chop has been marinating for two hours, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over very low heat. Add the onions, cook covered for 3 minutes, stirring often to make sure they don't burn. Add the mango, simmer covered while you proceed with the next steps.
- Remove the pork chops from the marinade, reserve marinade. Heat 1 tablespoon of frying oil in a separate large skillet over very high heat. Add 4 pork chops to the pan, be careful with hot oil splatters. Cook until the pork chops are golden brown on one side (about a minute). Turn around and brown on the other side. Remove from the pan and repeat steps eight to 10 with the rest of the pork chops.
- Add the marinade to the skillet with the mango. Sprinkle with cilantro and season with kosher salt, chili flakes and pepper to taste. Remove the mango salsa from the heat and serve immediately alongside the pork chops.