This is my reboot of the classic pork-chops-and-applesauce dish. It got some dubious looks from our nine-year-old, but she ended up thoroughly enjoying it.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep/cook time: 15-20 minutes
Two packages (four pieces) of Rancho Llano Seco pork chops
8 ripe Mission Figs, sliced lengthwise into thirds (peaches or these fantastic pluots would make good substitutes)
4 sprigs of rosemary, left whole
A few tablespoons of olive oil (to coat the pan)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Trader Joe’s “Zhoug” spice blend (a mix of dried coriander leaves, parsley, chili, garlic, cumin, cardamom and cloves)
Allow the pork chops to reach room temperature. (Soaking the closed packages in tepid water helps speed this process.) Salt and pepper (or brine) your chops as you normally would before grilling or griddling. (I use a Himalayan Salt Block to salt my meats and fish, but that’s a story for another day.) If you’re brining, try adding two teaspoons of Zhoug to the brine or experiment with other spice blends. If you’re not brining, sprinkle your spice blend on both sides of each chop during the salting process. If you want to keep it simple, just stick with salt and pepper.
In the meantime, coat a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and griddle the fruit (figs, peaches or pluots) until seared and tender but not burned, 1-2 minutes per side. Set aside; they don’t have to be kept warm.
Bring the cast iron skillet to high heat, adding more olive oil if necessary. Sear the chops, covered, for about two minutes per side.
Meanwhile, prep four plates with a sprig of rosemary (and any side dishes). Place one chop atop the sprig of rosemary and adorn each with a tablespoon of blueberry jam and two of the grilled figs (or other fruit).
*This jam is a nice (and delicious!) time saver, but if you want to make your own blueberry glaze, it’s also pretty easy. Drop of half pint of blueberries into a saucepan, add a quarter-cup of water and tablespoon of maple syrup, then simmer on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.