Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Pork Chop with Cauliflower Salad

I know, crazy combination right? But the caulis looked so cheerful in the market: nestled in a crate with cheeky white florets poking out from within a cocoon of emerald green leaves. I always preferred broccoli or carrots as a child, but with the right seasonings, the slightly nuttier flavour of cauliflower can be delicious. It's just important not to overcook it!

As for the pork chop, I ended up with a huge thick slab from the butcher, and it has kept quite well for a few days. I like to flour and fry it, but grilling a monster like this would also be fine as it would probably stay quite juicy. No marinade, no spices, just seasoned flour and a slow caramelisation in the pan. The juices ran all over the plate with the salad dressing, and one could certainly use some soft white bread to mop them up.

  • a small handful of raisins
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • a good handful of cashew nuts
  • 5-6 florets of cauliflower, and a few of the small leaves if desired
  • a handful of peppery salad leaves (I like watercress) or flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • One large pork chop
  • a few tsp plain flour
  • juice of half a lemon
  • a splosh of really good olive oil

First, put the raisins in a pyrex bowl and pour a small amount of boiling water over them, and leave them to soak. Dry-fry the seeds in a non-stick frying pan until they are hot and smelling fragrant, then tip them into a mortar and pestle and gently crush a little. Dry fry the cashew nuts, tossing around frequently on a low heat so that they don't burn, then remove from the pan.

Dip the pork chop in seasoned plain flour and fry in olive oil over a moderate to low heat. Thin cuts will need a higher temperature and less time, but the slab I was given took a good five minutes on each side before the juices no longer ran red. Don't overcook your chop: it should still have a hint of pink, and it's fine if the middle of the bone is still red, as it does not conduct heat well.

Slice the cauliflower florets into half-cm slices, maintaining their essential shape - I'm sure there is a name for this technique but neither my recalcitrant brain nor Google seem to be able to help me. Steam them for 3-4 minutes, until al dente. Drain and run a little cold water over them, and also drain the raisins. Toss together the cauliflower, leaves, spices, raisins, cashews, lemon juice and olive oil, and tip over the sizzling pork chop on your plate. Enjoy!

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