Using what has long been my standard recipe, I can arrange pork chops with fixings appropriate for any season of the year, from farms and waters in the New York City area. On Sunday it was time for an autumn take.
I’m reading an unintended smiley face on the squash.
Also unintended, I ended up looking at a colorful golden chain after squeezing every wedge of a terrific heirloom winter squash onto a single oven pan (necessity here the mother of an accident, not invention).
- two 9-and-a-half-ounce blade pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm, rinsed, thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a part of one crushed dried red shishito pepper from Lani’s Farm before being seared quickly in a heavy enameled cast-iron pan, half of a large organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed over the top (the lemon then left in the pan between them, cut side down), the chops placed in a 400º oven for about 13 minutes altogether (flipped halfway through, the lemon squeezed over them once again and replaced on the bottom of the pan), removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, some of the juices that remained in the pan poured over them, the remainder transferred to a glass sauce boat and placed on the table
- one 5 or 6-inch black futsu squash, of the moschata family, from Alewife Farm, scrubbed, halved, the seeds and pith removed, cut into just under one-inch wedges and mixed by hand inside a large bowl with a relatively small amount of olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and pieces of golden dried habanada pepper, arranged on a large, unglazed, well-seasoned ceramic pan and roasted in the 425º oven on one side for 15 minutes, turned onto the other side and allowed to roast for 10 more minutes, removed from the oven and transferred to a large heavy copper pot in which 3 crushed cloves of Keith’s Farm rocambole garlic and half a dozen large sage leaves, also from Keith’s Farm, had been gently heated in a bit of olive oil
- one bunch of medium size collard greens from Lani’s Farm, all the larger stems removed, washed 3 times, drained (some of the water retained and held aside to be added, as necessary, while the greens cooked), the larger leaves torn into smaller pieces, braised gently until softened/wilted inside a large, heavy enameled cast iron pot in which 2 cloves of Keiths Farm rocambole garlic had been heated until they had softened, seasoned with salt and black pepper, finished with a small drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a California (Lodi) white, Matt Iaconis Lodi Albariño 2017, from Naked Wines
- the music was an album of Telemann Konzerte für Streicher (string concertos) performed by Musica Antiqua Köln
Our favorite chops.
The tomatoes and the collards are pretty fine too.
- two 9-ounce bone-in loin pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm, thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and seared quickly in a heavy enameled cast-iron pan before half of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market was squeezed over the top (the lemon then left in the pan between them, cut side down), the chops placed in a 425º oven for about 7 minutes, then flipped, part of a golden dried habanada pepper, crushed, added, the lemon squeezed over them once again and replaced inside the pan for another 3 or 4 minutes, when 4 Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market were added and the pan returned to the oven for about 4 more minutes, when the chops were removed and arranged on 2 warm plates while the tomatoes were turned onto their round sides and the the pan heated on the top of the stove over a medium-high flame until the pork and tomato juices had reduced to almost a syrup and spooned over the chops, which were sprinkled with chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge, the tomatoes garnished with micro scallions, also from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- collard greens from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed 3 times, drained, some of the water retained and held aside, to be added as the greens cooked if necessary, the leaves and tender stems cut roughly, braised until gently wilted inside a medium heavy vintage, high-sided, tin-lined copper pot in which 2 halved Rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm had been allowed to sweat over a low flame with some olive oil, finished with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a small drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was an Italian (Langhe) white, Cagliero Rabel Langhe Bianco 2013 from Astor Wines
- the music was an album of music composed by Orazio Vecchi (1550-1605) that included ‘Amfiparnaso’ (1597), a madrigal-comedy cycle, and ‘The Musical Banquet’ (1597), which is just as the title suggests
I really think the approach I used here, and have used many times before, is the best way to treat a good pork chop – or two – and, as with the best recipes, its simplicity makes it possible to invent any number of variations.
Last night however there were no twists, not even a last-minute fresh herb, really (this time I saved my futzing for the vegetables).
- two 8-ounce bone-in loin pork chops from Flying Pig Farm, thoroughly dried, seasoned with salt and pepper and seared quickly in a heavy enameled cast-iron pan before half of a local sweet lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island was squeezed over the top (which was then left in the pan between them, cut side down), the chops placed in a 425º oven for about 14 minutes (flipped halfway through, the lemon squeezed over them once again and replaced), removed from the oven and place on plates, the small amount (this time) of juices left in the pan spooned over them
- micro snow pea shoots from Windfall Farms arranged to the side
I had picked up a small bundle of ‘French breakfast radishes’ two days before Friday’s dinner, when I decided to serve their greens, wilted, while they were still fresh. Because I love sautéed or roasted radishes, of any kind, I didn’t look any further for a vegetable to accompany the pork. Once I had pulled the roots and greens from the crisper however I realized there wasn’t really much of either, so I added a small parsley root and a few scallions to the mix.
- one small parsley root [petroselinum crispum tuberosum] from Norwich Meadow Farm, scrubbed, trimmed, and diced, sautéed in a little more than a total of a tablespoon of olive oil and butter inside a large enameled cast iron pot until almost softened, then 2 garlic cloves, halved, from Tamarack Hollow Farm and a small bunch of ‘French breakfast’ radishes from Eckerton Hill Farm, cleaned and scrubbed, added to the pot and cooked until they had softened, but just before that time 3 thin scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced, added to the mix, followed by the washed radish greens, the vegetables seasoned with salt and pepper, and a little Washington State riesling added and stirred in for a minute or two before being served
- the wine was a Spanish (Rioja) white, Real Rubio Blanco, Rioja 2014
- the music was the fantastic album, ‘Gisela May: Brecht Songs by Hanns Eisler and Paul Dessau‘
This was the first fully-prepared meal I have been able (allowed) to put on the table since cutting off the tip of my index finger in a kitchen accident on the 7th, and I relished every bit of it.
In preparation, I went to the Greenmarket the day before, fairly late, as I had only to pick up a vegetable; I already had everything else I would need for the next day, whether I ended up deciding on meat (frozen Greenmarket pork) or fish (frozen Greenmarket crab cakes).
I picked one of the last fresh bunches of greens, purple mustard, reminding myself how good it was to still be able to enjoy such a treat near the end of December.
The meal, I had decided, should still be pretty simple, since I would be wearing a latex glove on my right hand to protect a bandage. In fact, like the one I had pulled off two days before, it could actually have been assembled with that hand behind my back. I’m just glad I didn’t have to.
- two thick 9-ounce pork chops from Tamworth pigs from Grazin’ Angus Acres (heritage Tamworth pigs), thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared quickly on both sides inside a very hot, heavy enameled cast-iron pan, 2 pieces of a floral-scented heatless orange habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm that I had dried this fall, placed on the top surfaces before half of a sweet local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island was squeezed over them, after which the lemon was left on the surface of the pan between the chops, which were then placed in a 425º oven for about 14 minutes (flipped halfway through, the lemon squeezed over the top once again and once again replaced in the pan), the finished chops removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, some pea shoots/sprouts from Windfall Farms arranged around them, some of the pan juices poured over the top of the chops, the remainder poured into a sauce boat for use at the table
- purple mustard greens (well, at least the pot liquor was purple-ish) from Norwich Meadows Farms, wilted in a little live oil in which one clove of garlic from Stokes Farm, halved, had been allowed to sweat, seasoned with salt and pepper and finished on the plates with a drizzle of olive oil
- pickled red beets from Millport Dairy Farm
- the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Sauvignon Blanc 2015, from Naked Wines
- the music was Boris Ivanovich Tischenko’s Symphony No. 8, and his Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra, with soloists Mila Shkirtil, Mezzo-Soprano; Chingiz Osmanov, Violin; and Nikolai Mazhara, Piano, with the St. Petersburg State Symphony, Edward Serov conducting
It was cool that night, so I had no hesitation in firing up the oven to cook some lemon pork chops. The recipe is a favorite, normally enjoyed only in cool weather, and we’ve enjoyed these dark red (‘black’) cherry tomatoes before, but this variety of sweet peppers was new to me.
The peppers were Juicy, sweet, with a distinctive taste, and an oddly chewy texture – not at all unpleasant. I’m thinking they look surprisingly like egg noodles in the picture above, as they did on the table. For more clarification I thought I’d add an image of what they looked like as they finished cooking, but here they may look even more like noodles, maybe Spätzle.
- two 7-ounce bone-in loin pork chops from Flying Pig Farm, thoroughly dried, seasoned with salt and pepper and seared quickly in a heavy enameled cast-iron pan before half of a lemon was squeezed over the top (then left in the pan between them, cut side down), the chops placed in a 425º oven for about 14 minutes (flipped halfway through, when the lemon was squeezed over them once again and replaced between them), removed from the oven, sprinkled with micro beets from Two Guys from Woodbridge, the luscious pan drippings, by then mixed with tomato juices [see below], spooned over the top
- sweet heirloom orange peppers, described by the farmers as from southern France, from Campo Rosso Farm, sautéed in a large enameled cast iron pan until beginning to caramelize, joined part of the way through by some a small red Calabrian pepper, also from Campo Rosso Farm, and 2 red scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm, chopped, sprinkled with chopped oregano from Stokes Farm, finished with a bit of balsamic vinegar, the vegetables stirred to mix with it and the herb, before being arranged on the plates, some of the green parts of the scallions, chopped, tossed on top
- half a dozen or so halved black cherry tomatoes from Berried Treasures Farm, tossed into the pan in which the chops had cooked just after they were placed on the plates, stirred into the pan juices, the heat softening the tomatoes before they were removed to the plates and sprinkled with some torn New York CIty basil leaves from Gotham Greens via Whole Foods
- the wine was an Italian (Marche) white, Pievalta, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, 2014
- the music was Q2 Music, streaming, part of their Shostakovich 24-hour marathon