Last week was busy again. I put together Easter boxes for the grandkids and mailed them. I finished sewing a blanket for younger granddaughter’s Lilah’s one year birthday and finished a dress that I started two years ago for granddaughter Annabelle, who is almost four, that she will never wear, but her little sister will. A fun soufflé class on Wednesday, one of my favorites to teach, was a highlight. Two Zumba classes and tennis on Saturday morning – it was an absolutely gorgeous day. Remember in my last post I shared that I had planted 10 hay racks on our back fence last Saturday?
I also planted some extra flowers (I usually buy too many) in a flower bed in the front of the house while Sweet Shark was planting hostas and ferns in our shady bed – it looks awesome! We were looking forward to having a cocktail outside before grilling dinner, but by the time we cleaned up the tools, watered all our newly-planted flowers, and showered ourselves, the sun had set and we were too exhausted to fire up the grill (We did have the cocktail inside.). I had bought some beautiful “tomahawk” Frenched pork chops
at Central Market, so instead of Sweet Shark grilling them, I used the tired and true “sear/finish in the oven” technique. I love this method of cooking meat – steak, lamb chops, veal chops, pork chops. The searing promotes caramelization to bring out the meaty flavors and creates a crusty exterior; finishing in the oven yields a tender, juicy piece of meat. In addition, once the chops are in the oven, you are free to attend to other last minute cooking/serving tasks. This preparation is similar to the porterhouse steak recipe from my last post, but in this one the herbs and garlic are not are not finely chopped. The key here is a great piece of meat and a very hot pan. I highly recommend using a cast iron skillet which adds flavor and is easy to clean up. I used my Le Creuset cast iron grill pan and it worked great. If you use a stainless steel skillet, the clean up will be horrendous. I hope you try this method – you’ll love it.
Frenched Pork Chops with Herbs, Garlic and Olive Oil
2 1 1/2-inch thick pork chops
6 2-inch sprigs rosemary
6 2-inch sprigs sage or thyme
2 cloves garlic — peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper — to taste
olive oil — for cooking
1. Combine the herbs and garlic and place on a plate or platter to hold the chops.
2. Place the chops on top of the herb/oil mixture. Turn the chops over, coating both sides completely. Cover the chops with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 – 6 hours (I only had time to marinate for 1 1/2 hours), turning once or twice so that both sides absorb the herb/oil mixture.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the chops from the marinade and brush off the herbs and garlic pieces*. (I didn’t do that; I picked off before putting in the oven.) Thoroughly dry the chops with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. and let stand for 10 minutes to come to room temperature.
4. Heat a large, oven-proof sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/8-inch. Heat the oil for about 30 seconds. (Make sure your exhaust fan is on.) Add the chops to the pan, making sure that there is space between them. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chops for caramelized and brown. Turn to the other side and sear for 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Pour off any excess fat from the pan and transfer to the oven. Continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes, until slightly firm to the touch and medium rare. Transfer the chops to a warm platter, tenting loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
I hope everyone had a lovely Easter. Although it was a rainy, cloudy Sunday, the son shone brightly! (That’s not a typo; it’s a fact!)