lemon-roasted pork chop with habanada; fingerlings, herbs


I’ve been working with the same very simple recipe for years, but this was probably the richest, and even the most colorful version yet.

I have no idea why. The only real changes last night were, one, that the meat came from a Pennsylvania Deutsch [sic] farm I’ve come to respect hugely for all of its produce, but which I’ve never seen offer this fresh pork chops. They were delicious. The second novelty, an a happy circumstance, may have been my ability to use, as the other major ingredient to the recipe, a very sweet local lemon grown by David Tifford of Fantastic Gardens of Long Island.

There was also the fact that I included one of the last fresh habanada peppers of the summer, and it clearly made a taste (and visual) impact, but this wasn’t the first time I had included one in this recipe.

The potatoes were no less delicious, and I imagine that was at least partly because of the appearance of more of that heatless, bright floral pepper, but in a very different guise.

  • two fresh 11-ounce pork chops from Millport Dairy Farm, 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, one small, fresh floral-scented heatless orange habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, chopped, scattered 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 pepper pieces repositioned on the surfaces, 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 ‘Bull’s Blood micro beet’ from Windfall Farms arranged at one end, some of the pan juices (a far more generous amount had accumulated than ever before, largely, I imagine, because of the juiciness of the lemon) poured over the top of the chops, the remainder poured into a sauce boat for use at the table
  • I added a small amount of my homemade quince chutney to the plates after the photograph above was taken; it was as wonderful as it had been in several recent meals, but it’s sweetness really wasn’t really necessary for this one
  • wonderful nutty fingerling potatoes from a friend’s garden, ‘Lower Hayfields’, in Garrison, New York, halved, tossed with a little olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary and sage, both from Phillips Farm, a small amount of crushed, dark, dried heatless Habanada pepper, acquired fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground pepper, spread, cut side down, onto a large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, roasted at about 400-425º [ideally 375º, but the pork required 425º] for maybe 15 minutes, or until the potatoes were both tender and slightly browned
  • the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Sauvignon Blanc 2015, from Naked Wines
  • the music was André Campra’s 1712 opera, ‘Idoménée’, William Christie conducting Les Arts Florissants