Alison Roman’s Dining In features a collection of approachable recipes with a range of classic dishes and modern influences.
These are thick, fancy, Saturday-night chops, not thin, pedestrian Tuesday-night chops (only in spirit—you can definitely make them on a Tuesday). The type of pork (for example, Berkshire) will vary regionally, but the thickness here, at least 1½ inches, is nonnegotiable. Larger chops, whether pork or steak, are fattier and richer in flavor than thinner chops and are also nearly impossible to overcook. Even while searing them for what feels like forever, watching the outside develop a too-good-to-be-true deeply golden brown crust, the inside miraculously remains that perfect shade of pink and juicy as hell.
You’re not likely to find pork chops like this unless you go to the butcher (or butcher counter) and ask for them, but I have been surprised before. I know, it’s an extra step—the butcher! What a hassle. But trust me, it’s worth it and what makes these chops so dang special. I suggest going and getting a few and then freezing them for next time.
- DO AHEAD: The fennel seed mixture can be made 2 weeks ahead and stored at room temperature. It is also great on chicken.
- Toast the fennel seed in a small skillet over medium heat, swirling the skillet, until the seed starts to smell fragrant and turn a light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and grind in a spice grinder, pound with a mortar and pestle, or finely chop with a knife.
- Combine the fennel seed with the brown sugar, salt, and pepper, and rub the mixture all over the pork chop. Cover and let it sit at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the pork chop until it’s super browned and caramelized on one side, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the pork chop and add the sliced fennel to the skillet. Cook, stirring the fennel every so often, until it is tender and golden brown, but try not to disturb the pork chop. Cook until the deepest part of the pork chop registers 145°F on an instant-read thermometer, another 8 to 10 minutes (if you don’t have a thermometer, you can cut off an end piece and check for proper pinkness). Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the herbs and lemon zest in a small bowl, and season with salt.
- Serve the sliced pork alongside the fennel and garlic with the herb mixture sprinkled on top.
Reprinted with permission from Dining In, copyright © 2017 by Alison Roman, published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.