Dani Goes South.

Lemony Grilled Pork Chops With Herbaceous Vinaigrette, + Bacon & New Potato Salad, + Kale Salad With Crunchy, Wholewheat Breadcrumbs & All the Parm

Dinners, SaladsDani ColombattoComment
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Hi, hi, HI-YA (Anyone remember that from Heavyweights? Just me?)! Indeed it has been a moment, if the measure of time is 1 year = 1 moment. Oof! What to even begin to fill you in on? Random tidbits, OF COURSE. I’ll briefly catch you up on that portion of the program, as I really can’t wait to tell you all about this ridiculously delicious pork chop/two salad combo.

5 RANDOM TIDBITS:

Uno! We started a garden in our backyard, and may or may not have gotten really eager with the seed distribution for our little 3 x 5 planter. We planted rainbow chard, green onions, rosemary, tomatoes, chives, and arugula, and drum roll, please… THEY. ALL. GREW. ALL. CAPS. NECESSARY. Every evening, Ben and I go out back, examining our plants like the newborn children they are. Ben usually plucks a green onion and chomps away like a farmer with a piece of straw, almost always developing a light southern accent for the time we are back there, which always cracks me up. We just used up the last of the rainbow chard, and I’m quietly mourning the loss of my most colorful produce bb.

Due! My first tangible, hold-it-in-your-hands magazine article and recipe were published in Edible Austin’s May/June issue. I cried a little, picked up many-a-copy, and hope it won’t be the last time I say I was published. Confession: I’m a bit of a food mag hoarder (see: cleverly stashed stacks in my TV cabinet), and I may or may not have just checked out no less than 6 cookbooks on my first trip to the Austin library. If you’re local, I really, really, hope you grab a copy, learn about alliums, and make a delicious cauliflower leek soup (recipe will be posted here soon as well).

Tre! I picked up my guitar for the first time in oh…8 years?! Face palm emoji. It took a little bit to get through that initial, painful first week or so of majorly bruised fingertips, but it’s back to being a daily thing in my life. I forgot how happy it makes me.

Quattro! In January, I turned 30. Not gonna lie…I was slightly nervous about feeling a certain way about this. However, the rumors are true: you don’t need to have it all figured out the moment you hit your 4th decade of life. I feel a quieter, truer, confidence slowly developing that I never felt in my 20s. Time, space, and listening to myself, turns out, all good things.

Cinque! I have been cooking my ass off. For fun. In the last year, I found myself making so many dishes that have become staples in our home, and I am chomping at the bit like a Clydesdale to share them. These pork chops with 2 salads are one dinner we’ve made constantly. 

Now, let’s talk chop, shall we?

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You know how pork chops can be overcooked, under-seasoned, and many other anticlimactic things? Well, erase that from your memory Men-In-Black style, because sad pork no more! Is this my platform now? No more sad pork? I mean, it’s not terrible, but it’s no hill I’d want to die on. I digress…

These pork chops are marinated in an herbaceous, concoction of lemon zest and juice, apple cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, rosemary, parsley, garlic, and spices. Some of this magic elixir gets reserved to spoon on top of these already-juicy little buddies when they come off the grill. Because I love variety, and I hate choosing between two things, not one, but two salads accompany this dish. However, I will say, I use the term “salad” very loosely when it comes to the potato salad. I mean, there’s starch and mayo involved so… Let’s not lie to ourselves.

When it comes to potato salad, I’ve got some feelings. First of all, deli potato salad can just go where the sun doesn’t shine. Overdressed and under-seasoned is not the name of the game here. I’m a huge fan of a German-style potato salad, with a light vinaigrette. For this iteration, though, I decided to marry two styles for something with ever-so-slightly more heft to accompany all the brightness in the pork chops and kale.

Speaking of some bright chops, let’s start with the marinade. In a large glass measuring cup, combine your lemon zest + juice, grated garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, honey, olive oil, and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small dish, combine your salt, pepper, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, and chopped rosemary, and mix to combine. Rub on both sides of each pork chop, and then add them to a large freezer bag. Add all but one third of your marinade to your bagged pork chops, and refrigerate at least 1 hour but up to overnight.

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Place your baby potatoes in a pot and top with cold water until just barely covered. Bring to a boil, add a good amount of salt, and cook until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, place back in pot, and cover with lid. This helps any moisture left in the potatoes evaporate. No one likes a watery potato, am I right?

Cook 4 strips of bacon until crispy, and place on a bed of paper towels to drain excess oil, reserving 1 tsp bacon fat. Once cooled, chop into small pieces, and set aside. Slice your scallions, dice your celery, and mince your dill pickles. If you’re not a pickle-person feel free to forego, however, I think they add a necessary brine-y vibe. As always, you do you, boo.

Whisk together your mayo, mustard, apple cider vinegar, granulated garlic, and reserved bacon fat. Season to taste with salt, and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Halve (or quarter depending how large your potatoes are) your potatoes, and combine in a large bowl with celery, scallions, and pickles. Dress your salad, adding in your crumbled bacon, and a good handful of freshly chopped parsley. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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This salad is a simple, everyday staple in our house. I make some version of this several times a week, and should probably start growing kale. Remove the leaves from your kale stems, and add to a large bowl. Combine equal parts lemon juice and olive oil with one grated garlic clove, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Break up two pieces of any seeded, whole wheat bread and add to a food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs are formed. Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a frying pan, and add your breadcrumbs, seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss over a medium-low heat so as not to burn them, and cook until golden brown. Add to a paper towel to drain excess oil. Shave 1/2 cup of parmesan (preferably parmigiano reggiano), and set aside. Add your vinaigrette to your kale, massaging into the leaves with clean hands (der)- this helps tenderize the kale. Probably the only green you can marinate and set aside while finishing dinner that won’t become a sad, soggy salad. When you’re ready to eat, add your reserved bread crumbs and parm, tossing to combine.

Heat your grill to 350 degrees, and grill your pork chops over direct heat for about 6 minutes per side, or until internal temperature registers 145 degrees. Remove to a platter, and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. When ready to serve, cut along the interior length of the bone, and then slice into roughly 1 inch slices. To serve, re-arrange them along the interior of the bone where you sliced. Spoon over your reserved marinade, and top with freshly chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges, and if you’re feeling sassy, some extra shaved parm.

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This combination is so summery and bright, and frankly, begging to be served alongside a crisp glass or two of Rose. Cheers to warm, breezy nights, the smell of charcoal, and maybe a beach day or two.

Lemony Grilled Pork Chops

(serves 2)

2 bone-in pork chops

For the marinade:

Zest + juice of 1 lemon

2 grated garlic cloves

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbs whole grain mustard

1 tsp honey

1 tbs. freshly chopped rosemary

3/4 cup olive oil

For the rub:

1 tbs. salt

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

2 tbs. freshly chopped rosemary

1 tsp granulated garlic

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Bacon & New Potato Salad

1 lb. new potatoes (I used a mix of baby yukon golds, purple, and red potatoes)

4 strips bacon

1 cup diced celery

4 scallions, sliced on the bias

1/2 kosher dill pickle, minced

3/4 cup good mayonaise

1 1/2 tbs whole grain mustard

1/2 tsp granulated garlic

2 tbs apple cider

1 tsp reserved bacon fat

Kale Salad with Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs + Parm

Roughly 4 cups hand-torn kale (I used a combination of purple and green curly kale)

Juice of 1 lemon

Roughly 1/2 cup olive oil (depending on how juicy your lemon is- we are going for equal parts)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 slices seeded, whole wheat bread

2 tbs olive oil (for toasting)

1/2 cup shaved parmigiano reggiano