Yes, they are just as good as they look.
The chops are from the Salt chapter and I happen to agree with Ruhlman on the importance of salt in cooking. You can throw all kinds of exotic and trendy things into a dish but none of it will make any culinary sense without the right amount of salt. I’m sure by now you’re thinking “Fascinating Kate but what does Thomas Keller think of salt???” He likes it. A lot. When Ruhlman asked him what the most important thing he thought a cook should know do you know what the mystical and oracular Keller said? “Seasoning. Salt really. How to use salt.” I don’t know why this font of wisdom doesn’t write his own cookbook. Oh, wait…
What kind of salt should you use? Morton’s Kosher is fine but be consistent because salts are different. Fancy-pants salts (fleur de sel, Maldon, Himalayan pink, really anything that sounds like narcotics) are also really nice if you have them but use those for “finishing.” Ruhlman recommends that we try to develop our confidence in our own judgment about how much salt to use when cooking (and eating): “Learn to season by feel and by sight.” Break free of the measuring spoons and use your fingers. There is value in seasoning at different points during the cooking process; salting your onions as they cook will help them sweat. Adding salt early (in soup for instance) will allow it to distribute itself throughout the dish. And there’s nothing I love more than a few flakes of some kind of sassy Euro-salt garnishing brownies or caramels.
You should, of course, salt the water you cook pasta in and Ruhlman even says you should taste your pasta water. I’m not going to do that but I am going to add more salt to mine based on his recommendation (I usually throw 1 tablespoon in but will double that next time).
These chops illustrate the use of salt in a brine. Brining allows the salt to penetrate meat which will give it more flavor and since salt will bring its friend water with it it will keep the meat (or poultry) from drying out as quickly. In addition to salt, this brine includes shallots, garlic, lemon, sage, bay leaves and cracked peppercorns.
Once you’ve brined the chops they are dredged in flour, then egg, then panko and panfried. The sauce is butter, lemon, capers and parsley all just warmed together in a separate saucepan. (Sometimes I think heaven is just a place where everything comes with lemon-butter sauce spooned over it. Lovingly. Other times I think heaven is just like the cream cheese commercials: everyone lounging around in robes, eating carbs and looking great.)
Panfried Pork Chops with Lemon-Caper Sauce is on page 315 of Ruhlman’s Twenty. It’s also right here.