Saturday, June 09, 2012

Pork chops and fennel salad with Risotto Cake

Grilled Pork Chop with Risotto Cake and Fennel Salad

It's June and warm out which means the start of lots of outdoor cooking. Today's menu will be a grilled pork chop with some stone fruit chutney I made the other day, a crunchy shaved fennel salad and a crispy risotto cake. What I like about risotto cakes is that they can be made a day or two ahead and then reheated when ready to serve; I put a cast iron pan on the outdoor grill and with a splash of olive oil reheat them there, which gives them a really nice crisp exterior. The fennel salad is almost like a slaw of shaved fennel bulb and arugula; it will hold up well without going limp after being dressed with a light vinaigrette. For the pork chops I like using the really thick double ones and being brined for a day or two will really improve the flavor. The brine will flavor the meat and also help retain moisture so the pork will be juicy when cooked. Brining is good for all meats that can dry out when cooked like pork and poultry.

Basic Brine
4 cups water
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
3 cloves garlic
1 T black peppercorns
3 bay leafs

1. Bring all ingredients to a boil.
2. Allow to cool completely.
3. Completely submerge meats in brine.
4. Refrigerate for one or two days.
5. Remove meat, dry off and it's ready to use.

Important note: You will not need to season the meat because the brine has already done it.

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