I've always avoided buying and cooking pork chops. They always seem to come out dry and tasteless when I make them. But I received some pork loin chops in my recent meat CSA haul and thought I'd give them a try (well, I didn't have much choice!). But not without the help of an ex-boyfriend.
Ricky, like most Italians, is obsessed with food. He drove me crazy asking me first thing in the morning what I wanted to have for dinner. And like many people obsessed with food, he's an excellent cook. He often served up some wonderful dishes, such as his Lobster Fra Diavolo or Liguine with Clam Sauce (which unfortunately taught me that I can't digest clams). A dish I particularly enjoyed was his pork chops with vinegar and cherry peppers. So I gave him a call (we're still on speaking terms) and asked for the recipe:
Ricky Chiozzi's Pork Chops with Vinegar and Cherry Peppers
3-4 vinegar peppers (You can find them jarred in the Italian food section of your local supermarket. I used Pastene.)
3-4 cherry peppers (see note above)
1 clove garlic
2 pork chops
Coat a fry pan with just enough oil to cover. Chop the garlic and the peppers with just the liquid that comes along when you spear them out of the jar. (They will give off more juices in the pan.) Saute the garlic for a minute or two on medium heat, until it starts to color. Add the peppers and saute for another minute or two. In the meantime, flour the pork chops on both sides. Fry the pork chops in the pan with the oil, garlic and peppers on medium to medium-high heat so that a nice crust forms on both sides. (Not moving the pork in the pan helps this, too.) Remove the pork chops from the pan and keep them warm. Add enough water to the pan to deglaze it by scraping the bits on the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour the resulting sauce over the pork chops and enjoy!
ResultsIt was every bit as delicious and tender as I remembered. I love taking up a pepper with a bite of pork. I wish I'd thought to used the grooved side (groovy side?) of my new bamboo cutting board when cutting the peppers to collect the juice. The proportion of cherry peppers to vinegar peppers and their amounts are my own. Experiment according to your own taste. I served this with two recipes I got from the Back to Basics cooking class I took at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts last spring: Braised Red Cabbage and Quinoa (a word I always mispronounce "kwi-no-a" instead of "keen-wah") with Carmelized Onions and Sauteed Mushrooms.
Now I can't wait to get more pork chops at my next CSA pick up!