IMG_2370My favorite year-round company meals often include a big, thick pork chop. If you’ve eaten at my house, you’ve probably had one. I’m talking 1 1/2 – 2-inches thick, bone-in, please.  Cold months I’ll brown them to a crisp, throw them in the oven to finish off slowly with a sprinkle of warming rosemary, and serve them nestled  down into a buttery root vegetable mash of some sort with lemony green beans or spicy sautéed spinach and a creamy mushroom sauce. Insert Pinot Noir.

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Warm weather, I’ll have my trusty sous (husband Dave) grill them up with a gorgeous nearly-blackened crust only to plate them along side a big icy caesar salad (yes, there will be anchovies), offering a choice of a perky tapenade or mustardy barbecue sauce for the chops. Next night, if I’ve got leftovers, it might be barbecue pork chop salad. Insert Syrah, chilled just a tad.

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above: Rosemary Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Mash

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above: Barbecue Pork Chop Salad with Pickled Red Onions and Asparagus

But occasionally it’s neither cold nor hot. In fact, this year’s May is cool and rainy here with occasional snow–no complaints from someone who lives in a state where fires could easily begin about now.

Below: Top photo off our east (back) deck. Bottom is a Pike’s Peak shot from our front (west) porch.

IMG_2403 IMG_2409 One day is nice enough to grill and the next, you’re inside wondering if you should pull a quart of soup out of the freezer or just make a salad out of the leftovers. (In this case, I had one pork chop and two people to feed.)

The latter won here and, along with a nearly-room temperature California Chard, we enjoyed a hefty salad in front of the family room tv with a close-to blazing fire in the fireplace.  I know; salad and roaring fires just don’t seem to go together. Except in Colorado. We skipped bread in favor of our waistlines, but you could add a roll or two with butter if you’re young or skinny, or maybe very hungry.

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Try this:

GRILLED PORK CHOP CAPRESE

2 entrée servings or 4 side servings

  • 4-5 cups mixed greens
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 12 ounces (3/4 pound) sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 1 large, thick pork chop, grilled or fried or roasted-sliced thinly (or 1/2 pork tenderloin, sliced)
  • 4 small-medium ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 12 large fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons each good quality Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

Toss greens with a generous pinch each of salt, pepper, and red pepper.  Squeeze the half-lemon over all and toss again.  Spread out seasoned greens evenly on a large platter. In two lines or in a circle or oval, layer the mozzarella, pork, and tomatoes–needn’t be perfectly even.  Insert basil leaves within the layers at even intervals, tearing leaves if necessary.  Drizzle with vinegar and then oil.  Sprinkle the layers with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Do not store.

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Printable Recipe:  Salads- GRILLED PORK CHOP CAPRESE

Sing a new song,

Alyce