Adapted from the Food Network
3 tsp salt
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp pimenton
4 whole cloves
1 tsp light brown sugar
3 bone-in center-cut pork chops (10 to 12 ounces each)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 whole star anise
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp brandy
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt, plus more as needed
A few grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large yellow onion, sliced into 1/2-inch rings and separated
Mustard greens, for serving
For the pork chops: Place spices and sugar in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to combine. Rub mixture over pork chops. Allow spiced chops to rest for one hour at room temperature.
Heat a grill or a cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Set the oven to 375°F. If using cast Iron, place 1 Tbsp olive oil in pan.
Place pork on grill or in pan and cook for 4-5 minutes on one side. Flip and cook for an additional 4-5 mins. If using cast iron, transfer pan to oven after first flip. Remove pork from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
For the sautéed apples:
Place sugar, 1 Tbsp water and a drop of lemon juice in a sauté pan. Heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently until sugar begins to turn golden brown. Turn off eat and place apple slices and star anise in pan. Return the pan to medium high heat and place melted butter and remaining lemon juice in with the apples. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add brandy in during the final minute of cooking along with a pinch of salt. Burn off the alcohol by simmering briefly and allow the caramel to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside.
For onion rings: In a large pot, heat canola oil to 360° F. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Poor the buttermilk into a separate bowl. Dunk onion rings into flour mixture and shake off any excess. Then, dip dredged rings in buttermilk followed by another dunking in the flour. Place coated rings in hot oil in batches. Fry until golden brown and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle finished rings with salt.
Serve chops with apples and onion rings. Garnish with fresh mustard greens, mizuma or arugula.