Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

Here’s a delicious recipe you can throw together in no time, especially if you make the oven version. You can use regular spinach instead of the baby spinach, but then you have to spend time removing the tough stems. The heat from the hot vegetables and meat will wilt the baby spinach. If your spinach doesn’t soften up enough for your tastes, you can always dress the vegetables and microwave for about 30 seconds and toss again. That usually does the trick for me.

A side note for local readers, Waverly Market in Framingham has incredible sausages. I wish they had better store hours though—they’re only open from 9-5 and closed on Sundays. (Perhaps that’s when the cute little Italian ladies that sit out front make their Sunday gravy?)

Warm Spinach Salad with Grilled Sausage (adapted from Real Simple)

4 Italian sausages (about 1 pound)
8 plum tomatoes, cut in half crosswise, or an equivalent amount of any kind of tomato
1 large onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings -I like to use Vidalia for this
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
1 container baby spinach
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

You can make this on the grill or in the oven. The oven is actually easier, and your house will smell fantastic.

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and 3 tablespoons of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Grill directions: Preheat your grill. With a fork, prick the sausages in several places. Grill the sausages turning occasionally, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, brush or toss the tomatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Grill until tender, 5 to 6 minutes per side for the onion and 2 to 3 minutes per side for the tomatoes. Put your spinach in a large bowl and place the vegetables on top of the spinach as they are done. Slice your sausage into bite sized pieces and add to the veggies, toss with dressing, and serve.

Oven directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prick the sausages in several places with a fork, and place on a baking sheet. Toss your cut up tomatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil, place on baking sheet with sausages and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, turning the veggies and sausages about halfway through cooking time. They’re done when the veg is soft and slightly caramelized. Put your spinach in a large bowl and place the vegetables on top of the spinach. Slice your sausage into bite sized pieces and add to the veggies, toss with dressing, and serve.


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Ultimate Porkchops

Until I found this pork chop recipe, my pork chops were always dry no matter what I did–cooked them fast, cooked them long and in liquid—it didn’t matter, they were rarely ever moist and juicy. Now I always use this method to make pork chops because it is no fail. The secret is two-fold—the brining makes them juicy and moist, and the fresh bread crumb coating keeps them juicy and moist throughout the cooking process. Even though the recipe says you can use dried herbs, I always use fresh ones for this. The difference in how much flavor the fresh herbs impart is noticeable and worth it.

I’ve tried modifying the recipe by using the brine technique and using dry breadcrumbs instead of fresh, or panko, and frankly, both tries were not nearly as successful as the original recipe. I’m convinced that you HAVE to use fresh ones for this recipe to be amazing.

Sometimes I can’t find the thin 1/2 inch pork chops at the market, and if that’s the case I’ll either cut 1 inch pork chops into 1/2 inch ones, or I’ll cook the thicker chops in the frying pan until they are browned on one side, and then flip them over and place them in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes so that they get cooked inside before the coating burns. (If you try to get thick chops cooked all the way through on the stove top the breadcrumbs will burn before they are cooked inside.)

If you’ve always been disappointed with a dry and flavorless pork chop in the past, I urge you to give this one a try.

Ultimate Porkchops (adapted from a recipe from Epicurious.com)

2 cups milk
2.5 teaspoons salt
4 (1/2-inch-thick) pork chops (with or without bone; 1 lb total)
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (from 5 slices firm white sandwich bread, ground in a food processor or blender)
1.5 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Brine pork chops:
Stir together milk and 2 teaspoons salt in a shallow 3-quart dish, then add pork chops. Marinate, covered and chilled, turning over once, at least 1 hour (and up to 4 hours but no more than that).

Fry pork chops:
Stir together bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and remaining half teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl.
Lift pork chops from milk 1 at a time, letting excess drip off, and dredge in bread crumbs, lightly patting crumbs to help adhere, then transfer to a tray, arranging in 1 layer.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté pork chops in 2 batches, without crowding, turning over once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer as cooked to a platter and keep warm in oven. (Add more oil and butter to skillet if needed.)

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