Cook's Note: Hon shimeji mushrooms, also known as brown beech mushrooms, can be found at Asian specialty markets or online. If hon shimeji are not available, you can substitute cremini
or shiitake mushrooms
For brining the pork chops: Combine the salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, lemon peels and parsley with 3 quarts water in a large pot or bowl and whisk
together. Add the pork chops, cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning once halfway through. This may seem like a long time, but these are seriously big pork chops. Brining
will make your pork so tender and flavor it throughout.
For the smashed potatoes: Place the potatoes in large pot and cover with salted cold water. The potatoes will soak up that salt like pasta
and it will make a big difference in flavor. Cover and bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain
the potatoes, and return them to the same pot, allowing them to dry. Melt
the butter with the half-and-half in a small saucepot over low heat. Add to the potatoes along with the cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Smash with a potato masher and set aside, keeping warm until ready to serve.
For the mushroom escabeche: Heat the canola oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until lightly browned in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and reserve. Heat the olive oil
in a small saucepot over medium heat and saute the garlic and shallots
until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, chili flakes and lemon zest
and juice. Bring to a simmer
and then turn off the heat. Return the reserved mushrooms to the pot, toss to combine and absorb all of that flavor. Garnish
For preparing the pork chops: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a grill pan
over high heat. Remove the chops from the brine
and dry completely with paper towels. Drizzle
with canola oil
and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place the chops on the grill and sear
until browned, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a sheet tray and finish cooking in the oven until an internal temperature reaches 135 to 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve the pork chops over the smashed potatoes and top with the mushrooms.