“Dinner”, Melissa Clark’s latest cookbook, is among the most highly anticipated cookbooks of the year. Its author is a staff writer for The New York Times and pens its highly popular “A Good Appetite” column which is eagerly awaited every Wednesday in the newspaper’s “Food” section. Melissa is also the author or co-author of a staggering 32 cookbooks before this one. You might wonder what on earth can be different here. Well, “Dinner” (Clarkson Potter 2017) promises over 200 all-new recipes and a philosophy: “Each recipe…is meant to be dinner—one fantastic dish that is so satisfying and flavor-forward it can stand alone—maybe with a little salad or some bread on the side.” I ripped into this book the moment it arrived. It's beautiful to look and inspiring as all get out. Today I’m sharing the first of what I am sure will be many dinner recipes from this glorious new arrival. It hues to the promise of a one pan dinner and takes just 25 minutes to make.
Melissa means this recipe to be a dinner for late Spring or early summer. Spring arrived last week in our part of the country. You’d hardly know it from the piles of leftover snow melting into immense puddles. So wishing to move things smartly along and actually celebrate the season, I made this ode to Spring using Sugar Snaps, Scallions, Pancetta and Pork Chops. (You can also make this dish with Veal Chops if you are feeling flush. Veal is easily triple or quadruple the price of Pork here in New York.) The pancetta acts as a flavor booster for both the vegetables and the Pork chops. The snap peas add a crispness and the scallions a punch of onion flavor. It’s a perfect dinner for two in all of 25 minutes. I am sure you can scale this up if you use a very large skillet. Here is the recipe:
Melissa Clark’s Seared Pork Shops with Peas, Scallions and Pancetta
Serves 2. Takes 25 minutes to make.
2 center-cut bone-in Pork (or Veal) Chops about 1 ½ inches thick,
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 ½ inch thick slices Pancetta (3 to 4 oz. total)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 bunch (about 8) scallions, halved or quartered lengthwise (depending on thickness)
½ cup Chicken Stock or Water
2 cups Sugar Snap peas sliced into 2 inch lengths or shelled English peas or a combination of both.
Lemon Juice to taste
Chopped Fresh Chives for garnish
1. Season the chops generously with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook until it is crisp and browned on both sides, about 3 minutes total. Transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel- lined plate.
Add the pork chops to the skillet and sear, without moving them until dark golden brown on the first side, 2 to 3 minutes. Then flip them over and sear the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the chops to the plate holding the pancetta.
3. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium. Melt the butter in the skillet, add the scallions and cook until they are golden all over, about 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock or water. Toss in the sliced sugar snap peas, coating them lightly with the pan sauce. Nestle the pork chops on top of the peas. Cover and braise over low heat until the chops are just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Cut the pancetta up into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle lemon juice over the dish to taste. Garnish with pancetta and chives and serve.