Though the story of this dish is rather long, its appeal is immediate and clear. Shaved Brussels sprouts and apples combine to make a tart and acidic salad, which plays off a big meaty pork chop. It's obviously more of a fall dish, but it's easy to admire all year long.
But to that story. It all began after devouring a crisp and tart Brussels sprout and apple salad at Sylvain in New Orleans. While great on its own (as was everything at the charming restaurant), I couldn't help but wonder how the salad would work as a refreshing counterpoint to a hunk of meat. I suppose any cut would work, but the apples made thick, bone-in pork chop seem like the obvious pairing.
I could have served the sautéed pork chop next to the salad, but I wanted to find a way to incorporate the two components. For the salad, I came up with an extra acidic dressing, using both apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, along with honey to smooth the edges out. At first, I was just going to drizzle some of the dressing on top of the chops, but then I remembered a trick Michael Symon taught me: instead of deglazing a pan with stock, Symon routinely uses a vinaigrette. After cooking the meat, any excess fat is poured off, and then the dressing is added. Any browned bits are scraped up and whisked into a quick sauce that is still acidic, with a noticeable caramelized profile.
It's a dish full of contrasts. The salad is crunchy and tart, while the meaty pork chops are juicy and tender. Plus, it's fascinating to see how the same vinaigrette can transform when reduced in the skillet.