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.
FRIED PORK CHOPS WITH PICKLED 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
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.
— Gretchen McKay