Here is another gem from the treasure of pork dishes I found in Umbria, especially around Norcia. Like the preceding recipe for sausages and grapes, this calls for a leisurely approach to cooking, slowly caramelizing the pork and building a fantastic glaze for the chops, with the mingled flavors of lemon, peperoncini, capers, and wine. I always prefer chops on the bone, but you can make this recipe with boneless pork-loin cutlets as well. Since they are usually thinner, they'll need less cooking time, though gentle and slow browning is still called for. I like to accompany these with an intensely flavored vegetable such as braised broccoli di rape or mashed parsnips (or both!).
6 bone-in pork loin chops, 1-inch thick, 6 to 8 ounces each
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 plump garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
½ cup all-purpose flour, for dredging, plus more as needed
1 large lemon, sliced in thin rounds
6 whole Tuscan-style pickled peperoncini, drained
3 tablespoons small capers, drained
¾ cup white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
You will need a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 14-inch diameter.
Trim the fat from the pork chops, if necessary, leaving only a thin layer, and salt them lightly on both sides, using 1/2 teaspoon salt in all.
Put the butter and olive oil in the skillet, and set it over medium-low heat. When the butter begins to bubble, scatter in the garlic; let it heat and gently sizzle. Meanwhile, spread the flour on a plate or tray, and dredge the chops on all sides. Shake off excess flour, and lay the chops in the skillet in one layer. (It may appear at first that there's not enough room for all, but as the meat shrinks you will be able to nestle the chops in.
Strew the lemon slices on top of the chops, and drop the peperoncini in between them. Cook the chops slowly, keeping them at a gentle sizzle, turning and moving them in the pan about every 5 minutes, as they take on color gradually and evenly.
After 20 minutes or so, when the pork is lightly browned and caramelized on both sides, scatter in the capers, shake the pan to drop them onto the bottom and turn up the heat to medium-high. When the capers are sizzling, push the chops aside, and pour the wine and lemon juice into the clear hot spot. Bring to a boil, and shake the pan so the wine flows around all the chops. Sprinkle over pan the remaining salt, and adjust the heat to keep the pan juices bubbling, steadily reducing and thickening. Turn the chops occasionally, so both sides are moistened and evenly cooked.
After about 10 minutes of reducing the liquid, when the juices are syrupy and glaze the chops, remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the chopped parsley all over, and give the chops a final turn in the pan. Serve right away, drizzling a bit of the remaining pan sauce over each chop.