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Grilled Double-Cut Pork Chops with Rhubarb Mostarda

Pork marries well with many fruits, and in the spring, this rhubarb-mustard condiment, known as mostarda in Italy, makes a wonderful accompaniment. If possible, make the mostarda the day before, which will allow its complex flavors to meld. Purchase chops from the rib end for the most flavor. If you are cooking over charcoal, be sure to create a cooler area on the grill where you can finish cooking these big, thick chops. 

Ingredients:

For the rhubarb mostarda: 

  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 1 1/2 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch chunks 
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 Tbs. dry mustard 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  •   
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt  
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 4 double-cut pork chops, each about 1 lb. and 1 1/2 inches thick 
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional) 

Directions:

To make the mostarda, in a large, heavy pot, combine the sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic and cumin. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Add the rhubarb and onion, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently to break up the rhubarb, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, season with pepper and stir until smooth. Let cool completely. If desired, refrigerate overnight. Return the mostarda to room temperature before serving.

In a shallow nonreactive dish that will hold the pork chops in a single layer, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Whisk in the salt and pepper. Place the chops in the dish and brush both sides thoroughly with the lemon mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours, turning the chops occasionally.

Remove the chops from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove the chops from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve the marinade if using a charcoal grill.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill, or preheat a cast-iron grill pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat.

Place the chops on the grill rack over the hottest part of the fire or in the grill pan and cook without moving them for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Move the chops after 1 minute if the fire flares up. Turn the chops over and cook until they are golden brown and crusty, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes more. If using a charcoal grill, brush the chops occasionally with the reserved marinade. Move the chops to a cooler part of the grill or reduce the heat, and cook until the chops are firm to the touch but still have a little give, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Transfer the chops to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and serve immediately with the mostarda. Serves 4.

A note from the butcher: For the most flavor in this dish, seek out pork breeds such as Duroc and Berkshire.
— Bryan Flannery, Bryan’s Fine Foods, San Francisco, CA

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Cook and The Butcher, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, Inc., 2011).