Seared Anchovy-Garlic Pork Chops
Some time ago, pork really fell out of favour and I think we've all done ourselves a disservice. While I see it more commonly, it's still not back per se. But as a super quick, relatively cheap meat option, I think it should be. To perhaps entice you to consider including pork chops, I thought I might share this recipe. If you're just not up for it, I think this marinade would take well to chicken. It would also be lovely on a large mushroom cap or cauliflower 'steak.' I haven't tried either but it's sounding like a great idea as I type this. If you try it first- let me know!
During the begining of quarantine (so, forever ago?) I was making a garlic infused oil marinade that made my whole place smell amazing and was a beautiful, multi hour dinner process. But then I went back to work and realized that work life was not made for beautiful, multi hour dinner processes. I might share that initial recipe later, but for now, here is my shortened version. This dish would be delicious over a creamy white bean situation or with some super crispy roasted potatoes and a fresh and crunchy escarole salad.
4 smallish bone in pork chops
1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
4 anchovies in oil, drained
3 large garlic cloves, grated or very very finely minced
a pinch of chili flakes (more or less depending on your preferred level of spice)
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper
neutral oil like canola or grapeseed
Pat the pork chops dry with paper towel and season all over with salt and pepper. Use a fork or a paring knife to pork holes all over the meat. These will help the marinade seep in quickly and it will also help you relieve some stress. So keep poking! I learned this from Bon Appetit and it's so smart plus who doesn't want to stress poke at meat!?
In a mortar and pestle, smash the whole fennel seeds into a powder. Add the anchovies, garlic, chili flakes, and lemon zest and mash into a paste. Once you have a smooth paste, stir in the lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil to thin it out. You shouldn't need more than 1/4 cup. You can add more chili for spice if you'd like.
Rub the marinade all over both sides of all the pork and let it sit for an hour or two in the fridge or about 20 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat a cast iron to high heat with a touch of neutral oil like canola or grapeseed. Sear the pork chops for about 5 minutes on the first side, an 3-4 on the second. This does depend on the thickness of your chops, but usually this takes 10-15 minutes max. You can keep flipping them until they get a nice colour on both sides. I like to take the temperature and remove them from the pan when they're approaching 140F. They will continue cooking as they rest and come up to 145F which is considered the safe internal temperature. Let them rest for about 5-10 minutes. They don't need to rest very long because they're generally pretty small. Drizzle whatever juices are leftover in the pan over top and enjoy.
You can also save what is left in the pan, throw veggies right in and roast them in there. That's a great way to capitalize on that flavour and make it work for you twice. Think smart, not hard remember?