Parmesan almond crusted pork chops are baked and topped with parsley pesto for a relatively quick and easy main dish recipe.
These Parmesan almond crusted pork chops are brought to you courtesy of my fledgling herb garden. I’m a few months in to being a home gardener and I must report that my dill plant appears to have blown away and my cilantro went from producing perfect cilantro leaves to being entirely flowered in the course of what seems like a few hours.
Oh, and a small creature gnawed on my first two purple heirloom tomatoes juuust before they were ready to be picked. Bummer! But I guess that’s how it goes with a backyard garden – you win some and you lose some.
I’ve already mentioned one garden winner this spring/summer- mint. I’ve been using it frequently in mint pesto zucchini noodles and as a delicious addition to batches of sparkling ginger lemonade. My basil, oregano, and rosemary have been going strong, but man oh man – parsley! It was off to a slow start but it has grown a TON. Way more than an occasional garnish could keep up with. So I did what I always do when I have a bunch of herbs to use up – make a pesto.
My go-to is to use pesto as a pasta sauce, but we’ve been a little pasta’d out lately (I know, is there really such a thing?). I used a little less oil here than I typically would for pesto to keep this parsley pesto on the thicker side and perfect as a sauce to top meat. It was a great complement to simple baked pork chops and played off the pork chop coating flavors.
I used only parsley in this pesto – no basil. You can definitely sub out some of the parsley for basil if you prefer, but I really enjoyed the bold parsley flavor as the recipe is written below.
Now for the pork chops. They’re coated in equal portions of Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and ground almonds (almond slices I pulsed in the food processor) for a crisp-ish exterior. I opted to bake them instead of pan frying for a healthier cooking method, with a quick spin under the broiler to brown up the coating just as they’ve finished cooking. The broil part is optional, but I thought it added enough to the pork chops that it was worth the extra few minutes!
When it comes to baking things that you’d like to be crisp, my favorite trick is to bake whatever it is on an oven-safe wire rack. It sits right over a baking sheet and elevates the food so the hot oven air can circulate around it and cook/crisp it evenly. Otherwise the side that would rest directly on the baking sheet could become soggier than the rest. Plus if you use a rack there’s no need to flip the food mid-bake as you would if you weren’t using one. Anything that encourages hands-off time in a recipe is a big win!
Pork chops – especially boneless ones – get a bad reputation for being tough and super dried out, but these are juicy throughout. Pork chops are done when the center reaches 145°F, which means the cook time varies depending on the thickness of your pork chops (for reference, the pork chops I used here were about one-inch thick).
I highly recommend using an instant-read meat thermometer if you have one to have a fool-proof way of knowing when your chops are perfectly done. Mine was on the cheaper side (you don’t need a fancy one) and we use it so often with pork, chicken on the grill, and cooking steak to varying degrees of doneness. It definitely takes the guess-work and potential for over-cooking away!
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Parmesan Almond Crusted Pork Chops with Parsley Pesto
Parmesan Almond Crusted Pork Chops:
- 1 to 1.25-lb boneless pork chops (four chops, trimmed of excess fat)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp milk, your preferred variety
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley, packed
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tbsp sliced almonds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place an oven-safe wire rack over top of a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Whisk together egg and milk in a bowl.
- Add 1/3 cup sliced almonds to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until almonds are broken up into small pieces.
- Add breadcrumbs, Parmesan, processed almonds, and salt and pepper to taste to a shallow bowl and stir until evenly combined.
- Dip all sides of each pork chop first in the egg mixture, and then in the breadcrumb/Parmesan/almond mixture, pressing the coating onto the pork chop to help it adhere. Place pork chop on the prepared rack over the baking sheet. Repeat for all pork chops.
- Bake for 23-26 minutes, or until the center of the thickest pork chop reaches 145°F. I stuck them under the broiler for a minute or two once they were fully cooked to crisp the coating up a bit more.
- While the pork chops are cooking, add parsley, garlic, almonds, and salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Process until parsley is broken up into small pieces, occasionally scraping down the sides. Add olive oil and Parmesan and process until well-mixed.
- Serve a dollop of parsley pesto on top of each pork chop.