Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Pork Chops with Orange & Fennel Salad
Fennel is becoming one of my favorite ingredients. There's something gourmet yet homey about cooking with it. Maybe gourmet because it has a fresh, healthy taste and homey because it reminds me of Italian cooking. Whatever it is, I like to try it out whenever I see a new recipe that calls for it.
I think fennel and orange is a classic combination and it works perfectly with the pork chops. This dish does not have any strong flavors individually, but it has a very sophisticated taste when complete. It kind of reminds me of spa food - even though you probably wouldn't find pork chops at most spas. It is fresh and light yet flavorful. My family loved it.
Remove the skin and white pith from oranges with a sharp knife. Working over a bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membranes. Squeeze juice in the bowl before discarding membranes. Transfer the segments with a slotted spoon to another bowl. Whisk lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and ¼ teaspoon salt into the bowl with the orange juice. Set aside.
Season pork chops on both sides with fennel seeds, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chops and cook until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add sliced fennel and shallot to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add watercress (or arugula) and cook, stirring, until it begins to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in the reserved orange segments, then transfer the contents of the pan to a platter.
Add the reserved orange juice mixture and any accumulated juices from the pork chops to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Serve the pork chops on the fennel salad, drizzled with the pan sauce.