These sweet-salty pork chops come from Chicago food dude Paul Kahan. If you live in or have been to the Windy City, you know his restaurants—Blackbird, avec, The Publican, and the new Nico. If you don’t, put them on your hit list. Kahan specializes in ingenious twists on familiar favorites, like these pork chops glazed with white soy sauce. Most guys ignore the very existence of white soy sauce (shiro-shoyu in Japanese)—a gold-colored condiment made mostly from wheat with just a small portion of soybeans. This gives the sauce a sweeter aroma and milder flavor than conventional soy sauce. A little advance planning (you have to marinate the chops for at least two hours) rewards you with the rich umami flavors of the soy sauce and garlic, along with brown sugar and ginger for sweetness. Another example of how upgrading one ingredient can deliver a huge dividend in overall taste.
Step 1: Arrange the pork chops in a nonreactive baking pan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Combine the soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, ginger, scallions, and garlic in a mixing bowl and whisk to mix. Pour this mixture over the chops and let them marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and as long as 8 hours (the longer chops marinate, the richer the flavor will be), turning the chops from time to time so that they marinate evenly. Alternatively, you can marinate the chops in a resealable plastic bag.
Step 2: Transfer the chops to a platter. Pour the marinade through a strainer set over a saucepan and let it come to a boil over high heat. Cook the marinade at a rolling boil for 3 minutes to sterilize it. Let the marinade cool in the saucepan.
Step 3: Broiler method: If you are broiling the chops, preheat the broiler to high. Broil the chops until nicely browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Skillet method: If you are cooking the chops in a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chops and cook until nicely browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Step 4: Dip the chops in the cooled marinade, turning to coat both sides. Let the chops marinate for about 3 minutes, then drain them well. (At this point you can either discard the marinade or boil it down and spoon a little over the chops by way of a sauce.)
Step 5: Return the drained chops to the broiler or skillet and continue cooking them until they are darkly browned on both sides and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a platter or plates. Sprinkle the reserved scallion greens on top and serve at once.