Pan-Seared Pork Chops With Sage, Dates and Parsnips
This easy dish combines sage, brown butter and dates for a blast of sweet-salty flavor. Brining the pork chops in advance ensures tenderness: You can allow them to sit in the thyme-infused brine overnight, but even two hours of marinating will improve the taste and texture of the chops. This recipe calls for parsnips, but sweet potato or roasted squash would also work well. (And if you can’t find medjool dates, pitted prunes are a worthy stand-in.)
- Serves: 4 persons
- ¼cup kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), plus more for boiling
- 2tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1large thyme sprig
- 4bone-in pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick (about 2 pounds)
- 2pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 3-inch sticks
- 2tablespoons olive oil
- 4tablespoons salted butter
- 12large sage leaves
- 12pitted medjool dates, halved
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½lemon, plus more to taste
Step 1Brine the chops: Put salt and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in 4 cups water to dissolve. Add thyme sprig and pork chops. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. When ready to cook, remove chops from brine and pat dry. Discard brine.
Step 2Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put a large pot of well-salted water over high heat. When it boils, add parsnips and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook until parsnips are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain parsnips and keep warm.
Step 3Meanwhile, set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When oil is wavy, sear chops until nicely browned, about 3 minutes per side. (Work in batches if you don’t have a large skillet.)
Step 4Transfer chops to a roasting pan or sheet pan in one layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until meat is 140 degrees when probed with an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and let rest while you make the sauce.
Step 5Wipe out the skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add butter and let it begin to brown. Add sage leaves and dates, and let sizzle for about a minute. Add pepper and lemon juice, and pull off heat. Taste, and add more pepper or lemon to taste.
Step 6To serve, place chops and a spoonful of parsnips on warm plates. Spoon butter mixture over chops and parsnips.