While this recipe is touted as being perfect for a weekday, it’s getting a little late in the season to be barbecuing after work. So I took advantage of a sunny 55-degree Saturday afternoon. The grilled pork chops themselves are simple; brined for 30 minutes and topped with honey/anchovy paste before grilling. However, the real flavor comes from being topped with one of three possible relishes; I chose the Tomato, Fennel, and Almond Relish. The relish was just okay, but that may be because I don’t love the salty-brinyness of olives, which were a little too prominent for my taste. I overcooked the pork chops because Chris Kimball didn’t integrate the two recipes (which I’ve done below). As cooked today, I can only give it 3 stars.
I would have preferred the Orange, Jicama, and Pepita Relish, but couldn’t find Jicama in my supermarket, and didn’t have the time to search. Since I’ll be carving my Halloween pumpkins soon, I will hopefully be able to try it again before the end of BBQ season. My friends are all convinced of a harsh winter; we’ll see.
- Chris Kimball also offers two additional relish recipes; Onion, Olive, and Caper and Orange, Jicama, and Pepita.
- The Relish recipe yields twice as much relish as necessary, so I’d recommend halving the recipe. Especially if you can come up with another recipe to use the other half of the Fennel.
- Because the recipe is divided into two parts, it wasn’t clear that I needed to prepare the relish while the pork chops were still brining. I waited too long to begin chopping the Fennel (labeled Anise bulb in my supermarket) and ended up overcooking the pork chops. Even my kids commented on the pork chops being dry. Below, I integrated the two recipes below according to how I will cook it next time to ensure that I prepare the relish when necessary.
- Today not realizing when things needed to be started, I took 1-1/2 hours to make this recipe. Based upon my revisions below, I estimate that this recipe will take about 45-minutes.
- It was a little hard to find thicker pork chops; for some reason the butcher seems to love 1/4″ to 1/2″ pieces.
- I ended up having to buy a family pack of 8 chops, and I didn’t use the two of the unevenly butchered chops. Out of 50 packages in my supermarket, not a single one offered 6 even thick-cut chops.
Rating: 3 stars.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start time 4:45 PM. Finish time 5:30 PM. (estimate based upon my revisions below)
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe (including revised order) are given below:
Pork Chop Ingredients:
6 boneless pork chops, 3/4″ to 1″ thick
3 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Tomato, Fennel, and Almond Relish Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded
6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup pitted green olives
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Make 2 release cuts 1″ apart, slicing through the outer layer of fat to prevent cupping. Put 1-1/2 quarts of cold water in a large bowl, and dissolve 3 tablespoons of table salt. Brine the pork chops at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- While the pork chops are brining, prepare the relish ingredients (including toasting the almond slivers in a dry skillet). Cut away a discard that fennel stalks, cut the bulb in half and cut into 1/4″ dice which should yield about 1-1/2 cups. Peel and slice the garlic thinly. Cut tomatoes into 1/2″ dice, discarding the seeds and juices. Coarsely chop the 1/4-cup of olives (next time I will half the amount of olives to suit my taste). Mince your parsley.
- After 15 minutes of brining, open your grill’s bottom vent completely. Ignite a chimney starter filled with charcoal (about 6 quarts). It should take about 20 minutes until the charcoal is ready to use.
- In a small bowl, combine vegetable oil, honey, anchovy paste, and pepper. Whisk together to form a paste.
- After 30 minutes of brining, remove chops and dry using paper towels. Evenly spread half of paste mixture over one-side of each chop.
- Continue preparing the relish (before putting the pork chops on the grill): add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a 10″ regular skillet. Pre-heat over medium burner until the oil begins to shimmer. Saute fennel for 5 minutes.
- Empty charcoal evenly over half of grill. Clean and oil grill grate. Put pork chops with the oiled-side down over the hot side of the grill. Grill for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, back in the kitchen stir in the garlic and saute for only 30 seconds. Add diced tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Back out at the grill, spread the rest of the paste evenly over second-side of pork chops. Flip chops and continue to cook, uncovered, for about 5 more minutes until in internal temperature is 140-degrees.
- In the kitchen, remove fennel/tomato mixture from skillet and put in medium bowl. Mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, olives, almonds, vinegar, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Allow chops to rest for 5-minutes and serve topped with relish.