Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter Farmer's Market: Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples, Celery and Spiced Walnuts

I have wanted to use a recipe from Barbara Lynch's Stir cookbook, almost as much as I've wanted to go to her restaurant, No. 9 Park. Most of the recipes aren't weeknight-type meals, but this one looked like something I could handle. I bought some great pork chops from Stillman's at the Turkey Farm at the Somerville Winter Farmers Market, along with some apples as well. I'm actually not a big fan of apples with pork chops, usually, but the caramelization did the trick here!

Mmm....caramelized apples...
Due to copyright, I won't give the amounts, but the ingredients are as follows:

Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples, Celery, and Spiced Walnuts
  • grapeseed or canola oil (I used grapeseed)
  • pork chops, about 1 1/2 in thick
  • salt and pepper
  • Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apple (I used the latter)
  • sugar (for caramelizing)
  • unsalted butter (for caramelizing)
  • chopped fresh thyme
  • celery stalks, sliced very thinly on the diagonal
  • whole parsley leaves (1/4 cup...quite a lot--you have to like parsley)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • spiced walnuts
  • Fleur de sel ( I left this out)
Basically, season the chops with the salt and pepper, browning them in a skillet, well-browned on one side (you can let the second side go for a little less time). Then you finish cooking them by putting the skillet in a 350 degree oven. Let them rest before serving. While the pork is finishing, you can caramelize the apples--the trick is to let each side of the apple sit in the sugar/grapeseed oil for long enough. Then you add the butter and swirl it around. Then at the end, toss in the thyme and salt.

You serve the apples on the side, but on top of the pork chop you put a lovely little parsley-celery salad, "barely moistened" with some olive oil and lemon juice, and tossed with the spiced walnuts (see below).

The spiced walnuts are easy and delicious, and you can make an extra batch to toss in with your ordinary salad (I had them in a cole slaw). Walnuts + grapeseed oil + sugar + Cayenne (I substituted Penzey's Cajun Seasoning) + kosher salt (bake on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven from 5-10 minutes and let them cool).

This was a relatively easy meal, with lovely and simple flavors and an elegant presentation. This is a keeper.