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lemon pork chop with mandarin sage; tomatoes; broccolini

I’m not a fan of sweets, but when the attribute shows up, unbidden, in your savory dinner, especially in every part of it, I can take the salute.

Otherwise this meal wasn’t much different than many others I’ve prepared using an extremely easy recipe for pork chops I’ve been working with for years [copied in this 2014 food blog post]. One thing that was new this time was a good closeup image of a very juicy chop, helping, better than the pictures of these dinners I’ve published before, to explain why I’m so fond of the recipe (the word, ‘succulent’ always comes to mind, one that’s not associated with most pork chops served, anywhere).

In fact, 2 images.

  • two thick, bone-in loin pork chops (approximately 10 ounces each) from Flying Pig Farms, dried thoroughly, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared in a heavy enameled cast-iron pan, half of an organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed over them and left in the pan them while they roasted in a 400º oven for about 12 or 13 minutes total (flipped halfway through and the lemon squeezed over their surfaces once again), removed from the oven, sprinkled with chopped Salvia Mandarino (Eng. ‘mandarin sage’, or ‘pineapple sage’) from Stokes Farm, and the pan juices spooned over the top (there were enough to be transferred to a sauce boat which was brought to the table, along with a ladle)

  • six halved Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-grrund black pepper, gently heated, face down first, then turned, inside a small copper skillet, arranged close to the chops and sprinkled with chopped thyme leaves from Stokes Farm

lemon pork chop with red amaranth, inguazato, collards

This is one of the easiest meals I get to put together, and I do something like it pretty often. It’s easy because the recipes are simple, because I’ve assembled each of them a number of times, and, it’s even easier this time because one of the 3 things on the plate had been prepared earlier – 5 days earlier in fact, as a part of another meal.

The finish for the pork chops this time might be the most spectacular garnish I’ve ever used, at least on this dish, red amaranth, here, while still at the Greenmarket, looking a bit like a map of the Iberian peninsula.

The green was a very sweet (late winter/early spring?) bunch of very sweet, tender collards.

This is a grainy blowup from the earlier appearance of the inguazato, which at that time included monkfish tails.

  • two small pork chops (8 ounces each) from Flying Pigs Farm, thoroughly dried, seasoned well with salt and freshly-ground pepper, seared quickly on both sides inside a heavy enameled cast-iron pan (a small amount of a dried orange-golden habanada pepper added as each side was sealed), then half of an organic lemon squeezed over the top and left in the pan between the chops, the pan placed in a 425º oven for about 14 minutes (flipped halfway through, at which time the lemon was squeezed over them once again and replaced between them), removed from the oven and arranged on plates, the really luscious scant pan juices spooned over the meat, which was finished with a flourish of red micro amaranth from Windfall Farms
  • a serving of a couscous dish, chef David Pasternack’s ‘inguazata’, a precious leftover from this meal [the recipe can be found through a link of that page], enjoyed earlier in the week
  • collard greens from Lani’s Farm, torn into small sections (the stems were tender enough to include in the cooking), washed several times and drained, transferred to a smaller bowl very quickly, in order to retain as much of the water clinging to them as possible, wilted inside a heavy oval enameled cast iron pot in which 2 halved garlic cloves from John D. Madura Farm had first been allowed to sweat in a bit of olive oil, a little crushed dried Sardinian pepperoncino from Buon Italia along with them, the greens finished with a little salt, freshly-ground pepper, a bit of sweet local lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Jacqueline Bahue Carte Blanche Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Valley 2016, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Marin Marais’ 1789 opera, ‘Sémélé’, Hervé Niquet conducting Le Concert Spirituel

lemon pork chops, copper fennel; bell peppers


This entrée was shockingly quick and easy to assemble, incredibly (literally!) delicious, and very beautiful.

Psst! I snapped the picture before sprinkling the top of the chop – and its environs – with more minced fresh green-and-copper-colored fennel fronds (it made the plate even, well, . . . prettier).

  • using a variation on a recipe favorite of mine, originally adapted from “Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe”, I thoroughly dried and seasoned two 8-ounce pork chops Barry and I brought home from a wonderful new butcher shop in the West Village, Hudson & Charles, seared them in a heavy enameled iron pan over high heat, then squeezed half of a lemon over the top, placed the pan in a 400º oven for 15 minutes along with the lemon (turning once, the lemon then pressed over the second side of each, which was then basted with the juices), the chops removed from the pan when they were firm to the touch, and sprinkled with finely-chopped copper fennel fronds from Norwich Meadows Farm
  • small red and orange bell peppers from Norwich Meadows Farm, halved, the seeds removed, sautéed over a high flame until slightly caramelized, and finished, the heat still up, with chopped basil (Full Bloom Market Garden in South Deerfield, Massachusetts) from Whole Foods, and a small amount of balsamic vinegar
  • the wine was a Portuguese white, a Minho, Quinta da Aveleda 2013 (80% Loureiro, 20% Alvarinho)


lemon-roasted pork chops; fennel/balsamic/olives; tomato

This was really superb pork, but then so was everything else on the plate. And yet this was still March, and we were in the midst of a pandemic.

Barry and I live very well, with the help of others, and we will survive, with the help of others, even in the midst of our current deep, physical social isolation

  • two bone-in pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm, seared, squeezed with lemon, roasted, garnished with micro celery
  • four baby fennel bulbs from Norwich Meadows Farm, tossed with olive oil, balsamic, roasted, arranged with softened chopped spring garlic, black olives, fennel fronds
  • two Italian heirloom tomatoes from Shushan Farm, halved, placed inside the pan with the chops near the end of their cooking, sprinkled with chopped thyme
  • I didn’t record the wine or the music

lemon-roasted pork chop, micro scallion; tomato; bok choy

It was a delicious meal, including the pork chops, although they had delivered a lesson on the importance of proper doneness in meat: Despite my extreme familiarity with the simple recipe, they were at least slightly overdone this time*.

  • two boneless heritage pig pork chops (a total of 1.04 lbs) from Flying Pigs Farm/Maple Ridge Meats, seasoned on both sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, plus a very small amount of crushed hickory smoked Jamaican Scotch bonnet pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, seared quickly in a heavy oval enameled cast-iron pan, one halved California organic lemon from Chelsea Whole Foods Market squeezed over the top of each, after which the lemon was left in the pan between them, cut side down), the chops placed inside a 400º oven, flipped halfway through, the lemon half squeezed over them once again and again replaced on the bottom of the pan, a small piece of finely chopped fresh yellow aji dulce pepper sprinkled on top of the pork at the time they were flipped, then roasted for a total of about 15 minutes altogether [*which was a little too long in this case, maybe because the chops thinner than usual], removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, the few juices that remained poured over the top of each, the pork garnished with micro scallions from Two Guys from Woodbridge

  • two bright white and deep green ‘roses’. or bunches of bok choy (also known, here and elsewhere, as bok choi, pak choi, pak choy, pok choi, or ‘small white vegetable’) from Campo Rosso Farm, washed, sliced into roughly one-inch sections, wilted inside a large vintage, heavy tin-lined copper pot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil after 2 halved Keith’s Farm rocambole garlic cloves had already been heated there until they had begun to brown, the cabbage cooking process starting with the thickest sections of this wonderful brassica chinensis, that is, those closest to the root ends, the vegetable removed from the flame while the stems were still a little crunchy, finished on the plates seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, and drizzled with a little more olive oil
  • one large green-become-yellow heirloom tomato from Eckerton Hill Farm, seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper, gently heated in a little olive oil inside a copper skillet for a couple of minutes, arranged next to the chops and sprinkled with chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was an Italian (Veneto) white, Pra, Soave Classico ‘OTTO’ 2018, from Flatiron Wines
  • the main dinner music was from the ‘British Music Collection’ series, an album of works by Colin Matthews, whose music is absurdly underrepresented in programming today, at least in the U.S., with Oliver Knussen conducting the London Sinfonietta, and after that we listened to Alexander Goehr’s ‘Symphony in One Movement”, Op. 29