Enough, I say!
Enough posting links to and pictures of other peoples’ brilliant work in lieu of my own mediocre and haphazard creations. I’m finally going to write about something I actually did for a change.
I’ve been putting off posting this for a while, not because it was a disaster, but because the photographs themselves are absolutely hideous. I couldn’t get the light right, I couldn’t get the camera to focus and I was rushed because the people I was serving the meal to actually wanted to eat it, instead of sitting around and watching me take pictures of their food while it grew cold. Stupid, impatient people. Heh.
So, just keep in mind that while the photographs make the food look as if it was reconstituted out of some awful 1970s-era Baptist Ladies’ Fellowship cookbook, the food itself was really quite good.
Porkchops With Cherry Tomato-Mustard Sauce
Before I discuss the ingredients, I’d like to talk a little bit about where I found this recipe. My friend Sarah gave me the new Rocco DiSpirito cookbook recently. Aside from the undeniable eye-candy on the front cover:
…there are also some fantastic-sounding recipes inside (Beef with Crispy Potatoes and Blue Cheese; Goat Cheese Ravioli; Fried Scallops with Melted Onions; just to name a few).
But the book itself is weird. I’m educated-guessing that to replace the television income that has been depleted by his widely-publicized legal battle with his estranged produced/friend Jeffery Chodorow, he’s entered into a partnership with one or more food companies to promote their food in this cookbook.
The result is a bizarre mixture of polished yet accessible recipes (good!) with recurring calls for such random yet specific ingredients as “Amore® garlic paste” and “Victoria® Fra Diavolo sauce” or “Dole® classic Romaine lettuce” (bad!). I mean, we’re getting down to brands of lettuce here? Really?
The entire thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. These aren’t even things that real chefs cook with. Canned okra? Hellman’s® Dijonaise? Real chefs aren’t sending their staff out with directions to the nearest Sam’s Club, all: “If you don’t return with 80 cans of Green Giant® creamed corn, you can kiss your ass good-bye!” It’s a scam and it irritates the hell out of me.
If I wanted to cook with a specific list of pre-made, preservative-laden, name-brand ingredients, I’d rip the paper off the back of a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. It’s just not a very tasteful or professional way to write a cookbook and I find myself — yet again — disappointed with our boy wonder, whom I want so desperately to like.
All that said, I enjoyed the sound of Rocco’s recipe for porkchops with a mustard/cherry tomato sauce and decided to tweak it for my own tastes. It’s quick, easy to make, and is a real crowd-pleaser, which is why I love it. Finally…here is the recipe (brand names left out for everyone’s benefit):
4 center-cut porkchops
salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large red onion, diced
2 pints cherry or pear tomatoes, cut in half
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chicken broth
1 head of butter or Boston lettuce
Season porkchops liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill porkchops in preheated grill pan (or broiler) on high for four to five minutes per side (or until done to your liking; I prefer mine a just a leeeettle bit pink in the middle). If you don’t have a grill pan or broiler, just cook your porkchops in a saute or frying pan with a touch of olive oil.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil when the pan is heated (adding the oil after the pan is hot prevents food from sticking). Add the garlic and onions; saute until onions are soft, about three to four minutes. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and continue cooking until slightly warm. Add the mustard, vinegar and chicken broth to the saute pan; mix well (I added the chicken broth because I liked the sauce to be a bit more sauce-y; you can leave it out if preferred).
Plate porkchops on torn piles of butter lettuce. Pour sauce on top. Serve with side of roasted potatoes (or any other veggie your little heart desires). Enjoy!