For many years the only fresh American pork I ate was the ground pork inside a steamed dumpling, the occasional blended meatball and the rare instance of a pork belly appetizer that found it’s way to me in a restaurant. Pork I ate as a kid – chops, mostly – hasn’t attracted me in decades, …
Last week we ate low on the hog, flavoring a polenta and squash dish with a bit of pancetta. This week we’re stepping up our pork game, way up, with Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Grapes and Lemon. Fatty pork is once again becoming available for those without restaurants or the price of airfare to Italy. Real pork chops–as versus the pink things wrapped in plastic in most supermarkets–are uncomplicated to cook, and delicious to eat. Personally speaking, this recipe marks a turning point for me, a return to cooking chops at home after a 20-year hiatus. Somebody cast a spell on this country’s pigs a couple of decades ago, morphing their chops and loins into a tough, flavorless substance called “the other white meat.” If your experience with pork has been barbecue or bacon, then you owe it to yourself to get down to a farmers market to suss out some chops from heritage breeds of pork and taste the real deal.
Tackling your first scaloppine recipe is a bit like being handed the car keys for your first night driving solo, an event occasioning braggadocio tempered by a gruff fatherly warning, Don’t screw this up. Your skills are on display. Since the dish is cooked just a few minutes before eating, it necessarily involves a bit of brinksmanship. If it doesn’t work, well, there’s always pizzaphone. The thing is, despite appearances there’s not much chance of that happening. The risk is illusory. This week’s Pork Scaloppine with Prosciutto, Capers and Sage is guaranteed to have you home by midnight. Plus, you’re going to look really good.
I don’t know what I like most about Slow Pork with Chow Fun Noodles and Kimchi–the braised pork, the chow fun noodles, or the incredible leftovers. This dish is an umami bomb–and most of it can be done in a slow cooker. Kimchi and milk for cappuccino live on the same shelf in our fridge; leftovers from Puglia rub shoulders with ingredients from North Africa or Malaysia. A little culinary polyamory is to be expected, even encouraged, especially when the result is something like this week’s recipe.