What do you do on Saturday nights when it’s spring, the weather is warm, and the sun has just gone down? You make Pork Chops with Herbs, Garlic, and Olive Oil.
For Sweet Shark and me, it’s a perfect evening for a cocktail and grilling outside. But this past Saturday night we attended my nephew’s beautiful wedding in McKinney, Texas, at the Flour Mill, a converted mill that is now used for special events. So, even though we didn’t cook this Saturday night, I thought I would share with you a wonderful dish we love to make on Saturdays after a day of working in the yard.
Pork Chops with Herbs, Garlic, and Olive Oil
I buy these beautiful “tomahawk” Frenched pork chops at Central Market, our favorite grocery store.
Sometimes Sweet Shark grills them outside, but I like to use the tried and true “sear/finish in the oven” technique. I love this method of cooking meat – a porterhouse steak, lamb chops, veal chops, pork chops. The searing promotes caramelization to bring out the meaty flavors and creates a crusty exterior; finishing in the oven yields a tender, juicy piece of meat. In addition, once the chops are in the oven, you are free to attend to other last minute cooking/serving tasks. The key here is a great piece of meat and a very hot pan. I highly recommend using a cast iron skillet which adds flavor and is easy to clean up. I used my Le Creuset cast iron grill pan and it worked great. If you use a stainless steel skillet, the clean up will be horrendous. The herbs and garlic add just the right amount of flavor to compliment the meat.
I hope you will try this method.
I know you’ll love it.
Here’s the Technique:
1. Combine the herbs, garlic and olive oil on a plate or platter to hold the chops.
2. Place the chops on top of the herb/oil mixture. Turn the chops over, coating both sides completely. Cover the chops with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 – 6 hours (Try to marinate for least 1 1/2 hours), turning once or twice so that both sides absorb the herb/oil mixture.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the chops from the marinade and brush off the herbs and garlic pieces*. (I didn’t do that; I picked them off before putting in the oven.) Thoroughly dry the chops with paper towels. Season both sides with kosher or sea salt and pepper and let stand for 10 minutes to come to room temperature.
4. Heat a large, oven-proof sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/8-inch. Heat the oil for about 30 seconds. (Make sure your exhaust fan is on.) Add the chops to the pan, making sure that there is space between them. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes, until the chops are caramelized and brown. Turn to the other side and sear for another 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Pour off any excess fat from the pan and transfer to the oven. Continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes, until slightly firm to the touch and medium rare. Transfer the chops to a warm platter, tenting loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
Here’s the Recipe:
I hope you love this technique and the chops. You can make them even when it’s pouring rain outside.