09 July 2008

Some chops to satisfy your chops

This week I found a rarity in the common grocery store's meat section -- good, thick pork chops. Not those paltry 1/3 of an inch thick gray things. Real, pinkish, 3/4 thick chops. Bone in. Just begging to be grilled.

And never one to turn down the last request of a cut of meat, I did bring them home to grill.

It was a blazingly fast, obscenely simple thing to turn those babies into a meal fit for company. Even if there wasn't any company!


1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, washed/patted dry
1 Tbsp parmesan (fresh grated if you have it)
1 Tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or pressed
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 thick-cut pork chops

First of all, heat your barbeque up while you assemble the ingredients. Turn it on medium, shut the lid, and let it get nice and hot -- usually about 7 or 8 minutes will do it. Small, underpowered grill? Give it 10 minutes.

Take your basil and chop it. Not too fine, but you don't want big leafy pieces, either. Throw that in a small bowl, and add the garlic, sea salt, pepper, and finally, the oil. Give it a good mix, and add the parmesan. One more light toss, and you're ready. Don't be afraid to use your fingers.

Set the herb mixture aside, and go put your chops on the grill. Lay them down, wait one minute (a good time to make chit chat with your neighbour over the fence), and then rotate them 45 degrees without flipping them over. This gives you those steakhouse grill marks that impress all but the most ardent vegetarians.

Now, shut the lid of the barbeque, and go inside to get away from that neighbour.

After 5 minutes, take your herbed mix out with you. Time to turn the chops over. Then do the same one minute trick you did for the other side, rotating them 45 degrees. (You can decide if you're going to repeat the conversation with the guy next door, who by now is smelling something really good from your side of the fence.)

Once you've flipped and rotated the chops, pile each one up with some of the basil mixture. Working fairly quickly, make sure each chop has an impressive pile of flavourful green stuff on top. Spread it out to cover the whole top of the chop. Now close the lid, and step back. Make sure your heat isn't past medium, but don't turn it down too low. You're cooking the garlic, after all.

Give those puppies about five more minutes. Using your best BBQ tongs, take the chops off the 'que and place them on a plate. Tent over them very loosely with some foil. Let them rest there for about 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to your serving plate.

Those, my friend, are ready to eat.

I'd recommend serving these with a great big fresh green salad, and some lightly grilled baguette*.

* Cut a loaf in half lengthwise, and lightly butter the cut side. Add garlic to that butter if you're feeling adventurous. Sprinkle the lightest bit of sea salt over them too.

For timing's sake, throw the baguette (butter side down) on the grill as you take the chops off, and turn off the barbeque. Shut the lid, and by the time you have let your chops rest, your bread will be just the right amount of toasty.

Got a bottle of Rosé chilling in the house? Or a nice Pinot Grigio? Perfect.

So simple it's almost embarrassing to pretend it's a recipe. But sometimes fresh flavour is all you need. And if that fresh flavour comes riding along on a perfectly grilled cut of meat, well, all the better. Enjoy.

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