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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Pork Chops with Salted Plums

One of the best things about summer is having fruits with meat. This summer has been more challenging for getting fruits and sometimes what I get is less that the best. This recipe is a good one for plums that come from a grocery store instead of a market or a backyard.


Pork Chops with Salted Plums

Source:  Alison Roman in New York Times Cooking
Serves 4

Since I'm currently not going to my regular butcher and instead take what I get in a curbside pickup, I learned this recipe works with a thinner pork chop, too. I didn't brine the thinner chops but I was careful not to overcook them--I had to ignore timing recommendations. Thin chops might benefit from a brine, especially if you keep the salt and fish sauce lower in the plums. I did not slice these chops but served them whole.

2 bone-in thick pork chops (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick, about 1 1/2 pounds in weight)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pd medium  slightly under-ripe plums, pitted and sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c unseasoned rice wine vinegar or fresh lime juice, plus more, if needed
1/2 teas fish sauce (optional, but tasty)
1 T vegetable oil
1 c fresh mint leaves
olive oil, for drizzling

Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place the plums and onion slices in a bowl and toss with the vinegar and fish sauce. Add a bit of salt and pepper and taste a plum. It should taste tangy and salty. If it doesn't, add more vinegar and salt. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the pork chops when hot and cook. Keep the chops in place for 4-6 minutes and don't move until well browned. Flip the chops and continue to cook until this side is browned about 3-5 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer you may want to use it here. I found that these recommended times resulted in quite pink meat. USDA and the National Pork Board recommend cooking to 145F in addition to a 3-minute rest. 

Remove from heat and place the chops on a cutting board. Allow them to rest while you briefly cook the plum and onions in the same skillet. Toss the mix and try to scrape up the fond and cook only long enough to wilt the onion. 

The author of this recipe instructs cooks to slice thick pork chops and serve with the plum mixture, topping the pork slices with the mint and drizzling with olive oil just before serving. This works tolerably well with very thick pork chop but it leaves the bone and bits of the chop languishing on the cutting board. But, as I mentioned above, thinner chops can be substituted. 

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