“Respect the product” is a somewhat shopworn phrase in cooking circles. But our recent gift from Bob Hancock of Blue Dog Bakery underscored the reality behind the banality.
Blue Dog now transforms into Red Hog Tapas every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, highlighting Bob’s charcuterie made with pork from his own Red Wattle hogs. Bob shows his pigs respect from farrowing to their final day, giving them plenty of room to roam and minimizing their stress on their way to processing.
So when Bob gave us a couple of chops (along with several pounds of pig fat Steve can’t wait to render into lard and cracklings), we wanted to show them as much respect as Bob gives his pigs. We chose one of our favorite, simple pork preparations — an Alice Waters-inspired sage leaf pan-fry. We plucked leaves from our abundant sage plants, pasted them on our salted and peppered chops, and briskly crisped them before a brief rest. They were juicy, sweet and sensational, and will most likely form the baseline of future pork flavor comparisons. Respect.
PAN-FRIED PORK CHOPS
(from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food) (serves 4)
- 4 pork chops
- Salt & pepper
- Fresh sage leaves (or other fresh herbs such as rosemary, marjoram or savory)
- Olive oil to coat pan
Season chops with salt and pepper on both sides and let rest for several hours at room temperature.
Press herbs into chops.
Heat a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat and pour in enough olive oil to coat. Add chops, cooking until brown, for about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until done, about 4 minutes more.
Let chops rest for 4-5 minutes.