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Wood-Grilled Pork with Honeyed Fennel and Apple

Early Summer 2012
201203016.jpg
food and drink

BY: Julia Aitken

The sweet, faint licorice flavour of fresh fennel goes beautifully with pork. Here, both seeds and bulb contribute to a main-course salad that’s a great excuse to dust off the barbecue for the first grill of the season. Balsamic glaze is a sweet, sticky condiment made from concentrated balsamic vinegar. You can find it in the vinegar aisle of large supermarkets.

4 boneless centre-cut loin butterfly pork chops, each about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick and 8 oz (250 g)
2 tsp (10 mL) fennel seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) cider vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp (1 mL) sweet smoked paprika
2 cups (500 mL) apple wood chips
2 large bulbs fennel
2 tbsp (30 mL) liquid honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red-skinned apples, such as Gala or Northern Spy
4 cups (1 L) lightly packed, washed and dried baby arugula
2/3 cup (150 mL) crumbled firm blue cheese, such as Shropshire Blue or Stilton, about 3 oz (90 g)
Balsamic glaze (optional)

HONEY VINAIGRETTE
1/3 cup (80 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) cider vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) liquid honey
2 tsp (10 mL) minced shallot
1 tsp (5 mL) mayonnaise
½ tsp (2 mL) minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 With sharp kitchen scissors, snip any fatty edges of chops at 1-inch (2.5-cm) intervals (this will prevent chops from curling up during cooking). Working with 2 chops at a time, put them side by side on a large cutting board and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Pound chops with the flat side of a meat mallet, the base of a small heavy skillet or a rolling pin, until chops are about ½ inch (1 cm) thick all over.

2 In a mortar and using a pestle, crush fennel seeds and thyme together. In a small bowl, whisk together fennel mixture, 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil, 1 tbsp (15 mL) vinegar, garlic and paprika. Put chops in a large shallow dish and rub fennel mixture on both sides of each one. Marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

3 About 1 hour before cooking, put wood chips in a medium bowl, then add enough cold water to cover them. Set aside.

4 Remove pork from fridge (if necessary) and preheat barbecue to medium.

5 Trim fennel bulbs, reserving any leafy fronds for garnishing the salad. Cut bulbs lengthwise into ½-inch (1-cm) slices.

6 In a very large bowl, whisk together honey, remaining oil and vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add sliced fennel and toss well.

7 Core apples, but do not peel them. Cut each apple into 16 wedges. Add apple wedges to fennel, tossing to coat well.

8 Grill apple wedges and fennel slices (in batches if necessary) on greased grill, with lid closed, turning once, until tender-crisp and well marked with grill marks, about 5 minutes for apple wedges, 10 minutes for fennel. Discard any honey mixture remaining in bowl, return apple wedges and fennel to bowl and set aside.

9 Drain wood chips. Follow your barbecue’s instructions for smoking over wood chips. Alternatively, wrap wood chips loosely in a double layer of foil, sealing edges well. Make holes all over top side of package with a sharp skewer. Put package of wood chips under cooking grate of barbecue, increase heat to medium-high and wait about 15 minutes or until wood chips start to smoke.

10 Sprinkle chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Put chops on greased grill. Cook, with lid closed, turning once, until pork is just cooked (it should still be slightly pink inside) and well marked with grill marks, 4 to 6 minutes.

11 Remove chops to a clean plate. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

12 Meanwhile, whisk together Honey Vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.

13 Cut grilled fennel lengthwise into ¼-inch (5-mm) strips, discarding woody core. Return to bowl and add arugula and Honey Vinaigrette. Toss gently. Divide salad among 6 large plates or heap on a serving platter.

14 Cut pork chops crosswise into thin strips and arrange on top of salad. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese. Garnish salad with reserved fennel fronds and dot plates or platter with a little balsamic glaze (if using).

Serves 6

What to Serve

201203016.jpg
food and drink

Wood-Grilled Pork with Honeyed Fennel and Apple

Early Summer 2012

BY: Julia Aitken

The sweet, faint licorice flavour of fresh fennel goes beautifully with pork. Here, both seeds and bulb contribute to a main-course salad that’s a great excuse to dust off the barbecue for the first grill of the season. Balsamic glaze is a sweet, sticky condiment made from concentrated balsamic vinegar. You can find it in the vinegar aisle of large supermarkets.

4 boneless centre-cut loin butterfly pork chops, each about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick and 8 oz (250 g)
2 tsp (10 mL) fennel seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) cider vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp (1 mL) sweet smoked paprika
2 cups (500 mL) apple wood chips
2 large bulbs fennel
2 tbsp (30 mL) liquid honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red-skinned apples, such as Gala or Northern Spy
4 cups (1 L) lightly packed, washed and dried baby arugula
2/3 cup (150 mL) crumbled firm blue cheese, such as Shropshire Blue or Stilton, about 3 oz (90 g)
Balsamic glaze (optional)

HONEY VINAIGRETTE
1/3 cup (80 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) cider vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) liquid honey
2 tsp (10 mL) minced shallot
1 tsp (5 mL) mayonnaise
½ tsp (2 mL) minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 With sharp kitchen scissors, snip any fatty edges of chops at 1-inch (2.5-cm) intervals (this will prevent chops from curling up during cooking). Working with 2 chops at a time, put them side by side on a large cutting board and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Pound chops with the flat side of a meat mallet, the base of a small heavy skillet or a rolling pin, until chops are about ½ inch (1 cm) thick all over.

2 In a mortar and using a pestle, crush fennel seeds and thyme together. In a small bowl, whisk together fennel mixture, 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil, 1 tbsp (15 mL) vinegar, garlic and paprika. Put chops in a large shallow dish and rub fennel mixture on both sides of each one. Marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

3 About 1 hour before cooking, put wood chips in a medium bowl, then add enough cold water to cover them. Set aside.

4 Remove pork from fridge (if necessary) and preheat barbecue to medium.

5 Trim fennel bulbs, reserving any leafy fronds for garnishing the salad. Cut bulbs lengthwise into ½-inch (1-cm) slices.

6 In a very large bowl, whisk together honey, remaining oil and vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add sliced fennel and toss well.

7 Core apples, but do not peel them. Cut each apple into 16 wedges. Add apple wedges to fennel, tossing to coat well.

8 Grill apple wedges and fennel slices (in batches if necessary) on greased grill, with lid closed, turning once, until tender-crisp and well marked with grill marks, about 5 minutes for apple wedges, 10 minutes for fennel. Discard any honey mixture remaining in bowl, return apple wedges and fennel to bowl and set aside.

9 Drain wood chips. Follow your barbecue’s instructions for smoking over wood chips. Alternatively, wrap wood chips loosely in a double layer of foil, sealing edges well. Make holes all over top side of package with a sharp skewer. Put package of wood chips under cooking grate of barbecue, increase heat to medium-high and wait about 15 minutes or until wood chips start to smoke.

10 Sprinkle chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Put chops on greased grill. Cook, with lid closed, turning once, until pork is just cooked (it should still be slightly pink inside) and well marked with grill marks, 4 to 6 minutes.

11 Remove chops to a clean plate. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

12 Meanwhile, whisk together Honey Vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.

13 Cut grilled fennel lengthwise into ¼-inch (5-mm) strips, discarding woody core. Return to bowl and add arugula and Honey Vinaigrette. Toss gently. Divide salad among 6 large plates or heap on a serving platter.

14 Cut pork chops crosswise into thin strips and arrange on top of salad. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese. Garnish salad with reserved fennel fronds and dot plates or platter with a little balsamic glaze (if using).

Serves 6

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