Today's Cook the Book recipe, pork porterhouse with pancetta-dried cherry vinaigrette, has been outlined very stringently by authors Rick Tramonto and Mary Goodbody; it calls specifically for thin porterhouse pork steaks, to be cooked over a grill.
It's cold out, though, so I think you could get away with doing the chops on an indoor grill pan and finishing them in the oven. And if you prefer a thicker sort of chop to the two thin chops they suggest per person, by all means have it. The important things are the herb marinade and that vibrant vinaigrette, floating with the dried cherries that pair so well with pork's natural sweetness.
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- For the pork chops:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Pinch of fresh thyme leaves
- Eight 5-ounce pork porterhouse chops, about 1/4-inch think
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the vinaigrette:
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced pancetta
- 4 shallots, sliced into rings
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 dried cherries
To prepare the pork chops, stir the olive oil, lemon slices, oregano, red pepper, and thyme in a nonreactive glass or ceramic dish. Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper and put them in the dish with the marinade. Turn to coat with the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours or overnight.
To make the vinaigrette, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan set over low heat. When the olive oil is hot, add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is crispy. Add the shallots, vinegar, and cherries and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until reduced by half.
Add the remaining olive oil, stir well, and set aside to cool.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill by spraying the grilling rack with nonstick vegetable spray. Heat the grill until very hot.
Lift the pork chops from the marinade and wipe off any excess oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and grill for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the chops and cook for about 1 minute longer, or until cooked through. The thin chops do not take long to cook over a hot fire.
Arrange the chops on a large platter and dress with the cooled vinaigrette. Serve immediately.