I've had my nose in a book for the last week studying for a looming macroeconomics exam, and I finally found out something interesting. Do you know who said "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" Milton Friedman.
But I have a hard time believing that Milton Friedman knew anything particularly meaningful about lunch. I think with a bit of creativity, you can get something for (almost) nothing. Take this recipe, for instance. I bought a 1 1/2-pound pack of lean, very thinly sliced pork loin chops for just a couple of dollars. Everything else, flour, salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil, I had at home. I saw a pack of dried chamomile flowers for a matter of cents, threw them in the basket, and went to pay.
For just a couple of dollars, I was able to make something simple and hearty, but still exciting and different. The chamomile that's worked into the flour atomizes its signature mild summertime scent as it hits the sizzling pan, and the elusive floral taste peeks out from the plate. It's subtle, but unique, and a simple way to tuck a touch of thought into the everyday fast and furious parade of meals. I serve this with bright lemon wedges, and a simple tossed salad of pea shoots and green herbs, tossed with shallots, sea salt, olive oil, and a spritz of citrus. And even if I paid for my pork chops, I still feel like a got that injection of restaurant frivolity for free.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.
- 3/4 lb thin-cut pork chops
- 2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers, ground
- 1/2 cup flour
- Light olive oil for frying
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon wedges
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.
Use a clean coffee grinder to make chamomile powder of the dry flowers. Then, mix it into the flour.
Dredge the pork chops in the flour-chamomile mixture, shaking off any excess.
To a sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, add enough light-tasting olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Sear the dredged, thin pork chops until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes total. You do want to make sure you cook the pork all the way through.
Serve on a plate with lemon wedges, and a fresh salad of green shoots tossed with olive oil, sea salt, and a splash of lemon juice of verjus.