Brined Pork Chops With Fennel
Pork and fennel — both fennel seed and the bulb-shaped vegetable — are often companions, and the combination of flavors is quite delicious. For best results, let the chops soak for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, in a quickly made brine.
- Serves: 2 persons
- ¼cup kosher salt
- 2tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2bay leaves
- 6black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 6allspice berries, lightly crushed
- 1teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 2bone-in pork chops, about 12 ounces each
- 2tablespoons olive oil
- 1large onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 3or 4 trimmed fennel bulbs, about 1 pound, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- Salt and pepper
- 2garlic cloves, minced
- ½teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- 2tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
- A few tender green fennel fronds
- Lemon wedges, for serving
Step 1Make the brine: Put salt, sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice and fennel seeds in a bowl. Whisk in 4 cups water to dissolve salt and sugar.
Step 2Put pork chops in one layer in a glass or plastic container. Pour brine over to completely submerge chops. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably longer, up to overnight. Remove chops from brine and pat dry. Discard brine.
Step 3Cook the chops: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Set a wide, heavy skillet over high heat and add olive oil. When oil is wavy, add chops in one layer and let brown for about 3 minutes per side.
Step 4Remove chops from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-high and add sliced onion and fennel, stirring to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and crushed fennel seeds and turn off heat.
Step 5Lay the chops on top of the onion-fennel mixture (alternatively, transfer all of it to a baking dish) and place pan, uncovered, in oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the internal temperature of chops is 140 degrees.
Step 6Remove chops and let rest for about 5 minutes. Transfer onion-fennel mixture to a platter and keep warm. Cut chops into 1/8-inch slices and add to platter. Sprinkle with parsley and garnish with fennel fronds. Serve with lemon wedges.