Pork Chops with Gochugaru Scallions

You needn’t be intimidated by this recipe. Right there in the headline [“Korean-style pork chops: Easy flavor from few ingredients”] you’ll see this is far easier than the taste would imply. The key is using a couple of items that are real flavor bombs. In this case, gochugaru and vinegar do a lot of heavy lifting while brown sugar is threaded throughout all three elements of the dish to pull everything together. I followed this recipe, which we found in The Week magazine, using boneless pork chops instead of bone-in.

In a small bowl, stir together 2 tsp each salt, pepper and brown sugar. Rub 2-3 pork chops on both sides with the seasoning and let it sit for 30 min to an hour. While the pork chills on the counter, preheat the oven to 400 and prep your topping. Chop 4-6 scallions into thirds, then thinly slice them lengthwise. Toss them in a medium bowl with 1tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp gochugaru, a pinch of brown sugar, and salt and paper. You may need to play with the proportions here so taste your scallions and adjust as needed. You can also prep your dipping sauce by stirring together a pinch each of salt, pepper, and brown sugar with 1 tbsp sesame oil to each. When it’s time to return your attention back to the pork chops, blot both sides of them with a paper towel. The salt in the rub will have drawn out some moisture and you’ll want them dry to cook. Smear vegetable oil on both sides of each chop with your hands and then sear them in a cast-iron skillet until they’ve browned (about 3 minutes total). Transfer the pan to oven and roast for 8–10 min. Pile the scallion topping on the pork chops and serve with the dipping sauce. Goes great with sticky rice.

I’d never heard of gochugaru before, but I guess it’s a key ingredient in kimchi. Between that and the vinegar used to marinate the scallions the topping has a definite kimchi vibe so if you’re into that, you’ll love this, which turns the snack into a main course. It’s got a bit of heat, but it’s a smokey heat, which I’m very much into. Also, the oily brown sugar sauce is very necessary to balance out the vinegary scallions so don’t skip that step…it’s also pretty much the easiest dipping sauce ever so I don’t know why you’d skip it.