Usually when I hear something is good for weight loss or is low cal or some such, I run like hell. Because I know I'm going to be eating some flavorless amalgam of barn sweepings and twigs. And, dude...I just can't.
I didn't make this to be low calorie. It just turned out that way. Having come to the overdue conclusion that there's waaaaay too much of me to love, I'm okay with it being low cal. It's filling, its vibrant, but it clocks in around 500 calories and it's loaded with healthy nutrients. Best of all, pork is involved. Maybe even better (what's the next level up from "best") This thing took 15 minutes from when I started thinking about it to when I was eating.
just me and Sous Chef Caya today. I found myself with a couple of pork chops in the fridge, a bunch of veggies and an abiding hunger.
Caya was so hungry that she'd had enough of the lovey dovey crap on the deck and was looking for a squirrel to kill.
2 6oz pork chops
4 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a splash of red wine vinegar
1½ cups arugula
6 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp pepitas
¼ cup sugar snap peas, rough chop
pinch of salt
2 tbsp sharp cheddar, shredded
4 tsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
I knew going in that the answer was going to involve pork chops. I decided on a salad only because I had a box of arugula. I had green onions. I had sugar snap peas. I liked it. Arugula works well with just about anything and it's got a texture that has a little bite to it and a peppery zing that wakes you up. Green onions are nice and mild. Sugar snap peas, living up to their name, have a nice sweetness to them that would work well against the heavy, almost buttery quality of the chops. I wanted something a little crispy and went with peptias (pumpkin seeds) because...well...I thought they'd look better than chopped almonds.
Let's get this done.
Put a pan over medium-high heat and let it warm up. When I say "warm up" I mean you want it really hot. Put it on and turn your attention to other matters. DO NOT ADD THE OIL YET...it'll burn.
Get two plates out. Since this is Cooking for Dudes and the presumption is your making this for you and that remarkable woman who still takes your breath away after all these years, try not to be overly dude about it. Get a couple of nice plates out. You don't get to use the ugly, baby puke blue plastic plates from your last BBQ.
Divide the arugula across the two plates. Chop the onions and peas and divide across the plates. Sprinkle over the pepitas. Hit each plate with a pinch of salt.
That pan should be getting nice and hot. Prep the pork chops. Don't trim any of the fat off, yet. We'll hit that later. Leaving it on during cooking adds flavor and moisture...both of which are your friends, Liberally salt and pepper each side and hit with paprika. Seriously, pork gets along really well with salt, so don't be wimpy about it. Give it a good rub to get the spices into the meat. Add the olive oil to the pan and set in the chops. Throw in the thyme. We're gonna let the thyme perfume the dish and work subtly into the flavor by leeching into the olive oil. Let them go for four minutes. Turn them, add the vinegar (pork also gets along really well with vinegar, particularly red wine vinegar) and give them another four minutes, covered. Remove when the internal temp hits 145 and set aside to rest. Don't get impatient. Give them five minutes or more. This let's the juices redistribute evenly into the meat so you don't have dried out, chalky pork.
Shred the cheese and sprinkle over each plate. Drizzle over the vinegar and olive oil.
Trim the fat from the chops and thinly slice. This is why you should learn how to sharpen and maintain knives. You want it thin.completely changes the experience if you have fat slices. Lay over the salad and give each plate another drizzle of olive oil. Give another couple grinds of pepper over the top.
You're done. That's it.
The pork provides a richness that is wonderful and the paprika lends an earthiness that grounds it. The veggies and the vinegar give a nice fresh and tart burst to counter balance. The cheese gives you a creamy undercurrent and the pepitas are just kind of surprising in a good way.