If you can find good heirloom pork, this dish will be even more delicious. Heritage pork is tender and juicy with silky, buttery meat that tastes unlike any you have had before. Look for it at farmer’s markets and good butcher shops. Pork’s natural sweetness makes it a natural to pair with fruit, which is why the dried cherry vinaigrette is such a sure thing here.
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- Pinch of fresh thyme leaves
- Eight 5-ounce pork porterhouse chops, about ½-inch thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup diced pancetta
- 4 shallots, sliced into rings
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup dried cherries
1. To prepare the pork chops: In a glass, ceramic or other nonreactive dish, stir together the olive oil, lemon slices, oregano, hot pepper flakes, and thyme. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper and then put in the dish with the marinade. Turn to coat with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 12 or overnight.
2. To make the vinaigrette: In a sauté pan set over low heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and when hot, add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes or until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is crispy. Add the shallots, vinegar, and cherries and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until reduced by half.
3. Add the remaining olive oil, stir well, and set aside to cool.
4. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill by first spraying the grilling rack with nonstick vegetable spray. Let the grill heat so that the heating elements or charcoal are very hot.
5. Lift the pork chops from the marinade and wipe off any excess oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and grill for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the chops and cook for about 1 minute longer or until cooked through. The thin chops do not take long to cook over a hot fire.
6. Arrange the chops on a large platter and dress with the cooled vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.