Seared Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

published Jul 7, 2021
summer
Seared Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

Juicy brined pork chops get coated and seared with a spice blend and served with a sweet, refreshing peach salsa.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook9 minutes to 12 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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pork chops with peach salsa on a platter with a fork
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

When stone fruit season descends upon my local farmers markets, my family goes wild. We come home with as many varieties as we can until we’re drowning in summer fruit. One of my daughter’s favorites is peaches — especially since there are so many interesting kinds out there to taste. While we eat plenty out of hand, it’s also nice to incorporate them into savory cooking — especially when there’s too much ripe fruit that needs to be used up.

The combination of peaches and pork is a classic; a quick and flavorful way to put them together is by topping seared pork chops with a zippy peach salsa. The sweet fruit mellows out when mixed with onions and cilantro and adds a refreshing contrast to juicy brined pork. And once the pork is brined, it cooks quickly on the stovetop so that you don’t need to turn the oven on.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

3 Ways to Ensure Juicy, Flavorful Pork Chops Every Time

While I absolutely love bone-in pork chops, their larger size makes getting more than two in a frying pan a really tight squeeze, and I find cooking in two rounds to be annoying. Boneless pork chops are smaller and you can easily fit four into a cast iron skillet or large frying pan, but they can be a bit lean. These three tips will help you avoid dry pork.

  1. Buy thicker pork chops: Look for boneless pork chops that are at least one-inch thick. Thicker chops take longer to cook, giving the outside more time to develop a tasty crust as the heat penetrates the center.
  2. Brine the pork before cooking. This soak in a cold salt-water-sugar solution adds flavor and juiciness to the pork, and it doesn’t need a long brine time. Just 30 minutes is great (although two hours is better if you can swing it) and makes a world of difference, and you can use the time to make the salsa.
  3. Adjust the heat as they cook. Once the pork is brined, pat it dry with paper towels and coat with an easy spice rub of ground cumin, chili powder, and kosher salt (yes, you do need more salt on the outside even though the pork is brined). Sear the first side over medium-high heat, then flip the chops over and turn the heat down to medium. This gives you a little insurance that the chops won’t burn as they finish cooking in case they are thicker and need a little extra time.

Peach Salsa Is the Perfect Pairing

This peach salsa is simply a regular pico de gallo with peaches instead of tomatoes. Dice the peaches up with a serrated knife (which cuts more easily through the fuzzy peach flesh), then mix with onion, cilantro, lime juice, and some jalapeño for heat. Depending on how sweet the peaches are, you might need an extra squeeze of lime juice to balance it out. Oh, and if nectarines look better at the market, grab and use those instead!

Serve the chops smothered in the peach salsa, and if you are going full-tilt summer, eat with some corn on the cob on the side.

Seared Pork Chops with Peach Salsa

Juicy brined pork chops get coated and seared with a spice blend and served with a sweet, refreshing peach salsa.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 9 minutes to 12 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the pork:

  • 6 cups

    cold water

  • 1/3 cup

    plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 3 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 4

    (about 1-inch-thick) boneless pork chops (5 to 6 ounces each)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

For the peach salsa:

  • 1 pound

    peaches (about 3 medium), preferably freestone

  • 1/4

    small white onion

  • 1/2

    medium jalapeño

  • 1 handful

    fresh cilantro sprigs

  • 1

    medium lime

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Brine the pork: Whisk 6 cups cold water, 1/3 cup of the kosher salt, and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a large bowl until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add 4 boneless pork chops and make sure the pork is completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, make the spice rub and peach salsa. Stir the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder together in a small bowl.

  3. Make the salsa: Prepare the following, placing them in the same medium bowl as you complete them: Halve and pit 1 pound peaches, then cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups). Finely chop 1/4 small white onion until you have 1/4 cup. Finely chop 1/2 medium jalapeño (remove the seeds and membranes first for a less spicy salsa). Coarsely chop until you have 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro.

  4. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 medium lime. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the salsa and stir to combine. Taste and season with more lime juice as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  5. Cook the pork: When the pork is ready, remove from the brine and pat very dry with paper towels. Sprinkle all over with the spice mixture.

  6. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large regular or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pork chops and sear until golden-brown on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, flip the pork chops, and cook until the pork is just firm and has an internal temperature of 135 to 145ºF, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork chops to a clean cutting board or plates and let rest 3 minutes. Serve topped with the salsa.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The salsa can be made up to 1 day ahead. The pork can be brined up to 4 hours ahead.

Pork temps: Some people feel just fine taking pork off around 140°F or even lower. The USDA health recommendations say that pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F. You can adjust this temperature to your own tastes and comfort level, especially if you know the pork is fresh and from a reliable source.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.