lemon-roasted pork chop; cress; grilled Turkish eggplant

Pork chops, Turkish eggplant, red cress. We may have been among a very small number of people, anywhere in the world, who enjoyed this combination for dinner last night. If it belongs to any particular cuisine, I’d say it’s that of the perpetually-evolving Union Square Greenmarket cookery.

I also brought home some bronze fennel on Saturday, and I knew it would go somewhere in the meal that was evolving in my head.

  • two thick 10-ounce pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm, thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt and a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper, seared quickly on both sides inside a very hot, heavy oval enameled cast-iron pan, half of an organic lemon from Trader Joe’s Market squeezed over both, after which the lemon was left on the pan surface between the chops, which was then placed inside a 400º oven for about 13-14 minutes (flipped halfway through, the lemon squeezed over the top once again, and replaced in the pan), the finished chops removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, some of the pan juices poured over the top of the chops, the remainder poured into a sauce boat for use at the table, garnished with bronze fennel fronds from Campo Rosso Farm
  • eight small Turkish eggplants, possibly the last of the season, judging from their ripeness, from Norwich Meadows Farm, each cut horizontally into 3 or more slices [although I should have sliced them less thinly], mixed with a little olive oil, one large chopped Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, pan-grilled on an enameled cast iron ribbed pan over a brisk flame, turning once or twice, 2 chopped scarlet of Japanese scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm and 8 pitted and halved Kalamata olives added near the end, tossed in a bowl with chopped mint leaves from Alex’s Tomato Farm, arranged on the plates, and drizzled with olive oil
  • red watercress from Max Fish Hatchery, washed, drained, dried, and dressed with a bit of good Puglian olive oil, Alce Nero DOP ‘Terra di Bari Bitonto, from the Flatiron Eataly Market, Maldon salt, and freshly-ground black pepper
  • the wine was a South African (Western Cape) rosé, Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2016, from Philippe Liquors and Wine
  • the music was Agostino Steffani’s ‘Niobe, Regina di Tebe’, in a 2015 performance by the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs; the opera premiered at the Munich court theatre during Carnival, in 1688