Brined Pork Chops with Gremolata

Brine adapted from Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice Waters and The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.

  • Prep time: 1 day
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4, depending on how many chops.


  • 2 to 4 thick-cut pork chops, preferably bone-in, about 10 ounces each
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  • 5 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 3 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 4 strips of lemon peel


  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic


1 Brine the pork chops a day or two ahead: A day (or two) ahead, prepare the brine.

Place one cup of water in a small saucepan and add the roughly crumbled bay leaves, coriander seeds, thyme, and lemon peel. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Let sit for a few minutes.

Then add the remaining 4 cups of water. Stir in the sugar and salt until they are dissolved and the water is no longer cloudy.

Place the chops in a freezer bag or marinade bag in a bowl and pour the brine into the bag. Seal and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days (1 day for thin chops, 1 to 2 days for thick).

2 Remove chops from brine: A half hour (for thin chops) or an hour (for thick chops) before cooking, remove the pork chops from the brine and rinse off with cold water. Pat dry.

3 To prevent the chops from buckling while they cook, score the outside rim of fat a couple of places, cutting just to the edge of the meat.

4 Sear chops on both sides: Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil. Heat on medium to medium high. Pat dry the chops again and coat with a little oil. When the pan is hot, place the chops in the pan. Cook until browned on one side, then flip over and brown the other side.

5 Lower heat and cook until done: Once browned, flip over again and lower the heat, continue to cook until done (internal temperature reads 145°F, or use the finger test to check the doneness of meat if you don't have an instant read thermometer).

Note that because of the sugar in the brine, the chops may brown more quickly than you expect. You may need to move them in the pan a bit to keep them from getting too dark.

6 Tent with foil and let chops rest: When done, remove the chops from the pan, tent with foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the gremolata.

7 Make the gremolata by combining minced parsley, grated fresh lemon zest, and minced garlic in a small bowl. Sprinkle on the pork chops to serve.

Great with mashed parsnips and potatoes.