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Pork Chops with Fennel-Apple Salad

Rodney Strong - Pork Chops with Fennel-Apple Salad

Recipe by Chef Josh Silvers, down home: downtown


Brined Pork Chops:
4 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
4 thick pork chops (about 10 ounces each)

Fennel-Apple Salad:
1 apple, peeled and cored
1 bulb fennel (12 ounces), trimmed
11⁄2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Fennel Pollen Aioli:
1 garlic clove
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg yolk at room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
Big pinch of fennel pollen

Potato Pancakes:
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1⁄2 yellow onion
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
About 2 cups canola oil for frying


For the pork chops: In a medium saucepan, combine the water, salt, vinegar, sugar, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from the heat, and let cool completely. Pour over the pork chops in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

Meanwhile, for the fennel-apple salad: Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the apple and fennel into paper thin slices. Put the slices in a bowl, cover with ice water, and soak for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, lemon zest, and olive oil together. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the fennel and apple well and toss with the vinaigrette.

For the aioli: On a cutting board, mince the garlic with the salt and mash with the flat edge of the knife until it forms a paste. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice, and mustard together. Whisk in the garlic paste. Combine the oils in a measuring cup and, whisking constantly, add them to the yolk mixture a few drops at a time until the mixture is emulsified and all the oil is incorporated. (If the mixture separates, stop adding the oil and continue whisking until mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.) Whisk in the fennel pollen and season with salt and pepper. If the aioli is too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the potato pancakes: Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the potato and onion into a bowl of hot water. Drain, cover with more hot water, and drain again. Cover with cold water, rinse, then drain very well. Spread the shreds on a clean kitchen towel, roll it up, and wring to squeeze out as much water as you can. Empty the shreds into a bowl and add the egg, flour, salt, and pepper; stir to combine thoroughly. Gently shape the mixture into 4 equal cakes.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1⁄2 inch oil over high heat to 375°F (a shred of potato will sizzle and brown almost instantly), and add the potato pancakes. Flatten each gently with a metal spatula and fry until golden brown on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over and cook until golden brown on second side and tender throughout, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Drain the pork chops and pat dry. Grill for 6 or 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place a potato pancake on each of 4 dinner plates and top each with a pork chop. Add a spoonful of aioli and the fennel-apple salad. Garnish with fennel fronds if desired and serve.

Makes 4 main-course servings​.

Photography by Alan Campbell Photography

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