Don't fear slightly pink pork. New guidelines from the USDA have decreased the minimum internal temperature from 160° (for medium) to 145° (medium-rare is now considered safe) with a three-minute stand time after removing from heat. The meat will be moist and tender, and leaner cuts will be more succulent. (The minimum temperature for ground pork remains 160°.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 5 ingredients and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Rub mixture over pork chops, and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in preserves, agave nectar, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops, and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Pour apricot mixture over pork chops. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145° (medium-rare) or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from heat, and let stand 3 minutes. Serve with pan juices.
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Next to BBQ ribs this is my favorite pork recipe. We've served it several times to guests and without fail they have asked for the recipe and we refer them to the Coastal Living website. The key to this recipes is buying the thick cut, Iowa t-bone chop and you don't need to buy expensive apricot preserves, store brand works just fine.