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Chermoula-Marinated Pork Chops

Chermoula is a North African marinade traditionally used to flavor fish and vegetables. In an unconventional use, this zesty concoction can also be slathered on pork chops or roasts. Grating the garlic, onion, ginger and turmeric on a fine-rasp Microplane grater or on the smallest holes of a box grater intensifies their flavor and helps to tenderize the meat. You can double the marinade and use the extra to season roasted or grilled vegetables to serve alongside the chops.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork rib chops, each 8 to 10 oz. (225 to 280 g)
  • Fine sea salt, to taste

For the chermoula:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp. chili flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) grated yellow onion
  • 1/2 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. peeled and grated fresh turmeric, or 1/2 tsp. ground
      turmeric
  • 2 tsp. unsmoked Spanish paprika
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:

Season the pork chops on both sides with salt, and salt the rind of fat on the outer rim of each chop.

To make the chermoula, in a spice grinder, combine the cumin, coriander, peppercorns and chili flakes and grind finely. Transfer the ground spices to a large, shallow bowl, add the garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, paprika, lemon zest, parsley, cilantro and 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and stir to combine.

Add the salted chops to the bowl and roll them in the marinade to coat evenly. Wrap the marinated chops tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Heat a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed fry pan over medium heat and pour in the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chops in a single, uncrowded layer and cook, turning once, until nicely browned but still tender and juicy inside, about 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from In the Charcuterie, by Taylor Boetticher & Toponia Miller (Ten Speed Press, 2013).