This Unexpected Ingredient Will Take Your Pork Chop Crust To The Next Level

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Who doesn't love a nice, meaty pork chop? Whether marinated in pesto or seared in a pan with sage leaves, whether grilled over high heat or battered and fried, this is a comfort food cut of meat that goes nicely with a simple starch like mashed potatoes and, of course, is nicely complemented by fruits such as applesauce and cherries.

There's a whole other category of pork chop preparations, and that's pork chops with a crust. Those of us over the age of 30 might remember Shake 'N Bake, a pre-made, packaged seasoned pork chop crust that mom or dad would dump in a sandwich bag, add in the pork, shake it, and yes, bake it, which would hopefully result in crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside chops. But if you want to make crusted pork chops at home from scratch, there's no shortage of recipes to choose from, from crusts that boast the fragrance of fresh herbs to those that have the cheesy goodness of grated parmesan. But there's one pork chop crust ingredient that's more surprising than these, and if you haven't tried it, tonight might be the time.

Shredded coconut makes a great coating for pork chops

Have you ever had coconut shrimp? Typically tossed in a breadcrumb coating featuring shredded coconut and then fried, baked, or air-fried, these little crustaceans come out crispy, with an enjoyably tropical flair. And if we bread shrimp with coconut, then why not pork, which also takes so well to fruit flavors?

Delish suggests that when the kitchen pantry is fresh out of bread crumbs, there are a number of substitutes that can be used to create breading. Among them? Crushed cornflakes, crushed potato chips, and crushed pretzels — which all sound tasty. But a surprise on the list is shredded coconut, which is actually a common breading substitute found in gluten-free and paleo recipes.

To crust your pork chops with shredded coconut, Food Network suggests a three-part breading method: first a flour dredge, then an egg wash, and finally a crust made of panko breadcrumbs, unsweetened coconut flakes, five-spice powder, and garlic powder. The next time we see a bag of shredded coconut, we might just plan to make pork chops instead of macaroons.