Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Meyer Lemon (Costole di Maiale in Padella)
When it comes to pork, a little fat is good. Why eat pork that has been bred to be so lean that it lacks flavor and can be tough when cooked? Good pork from heritage producers and small farms is increasingly available, so seek it out for these pan-seared chops.
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
- 4 fresh bay leaves or 6 dried bay leaves
- 2 Meyer lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 halved
- 4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops, each 6 to 8 oz.
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed fry pan over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, garlic and bay leaves. Sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and the oil is infused with the aroma of garlic and bay leaf, about 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic and bay leaves to a plate; set aside.
Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the lemon slices. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate with the garlic and bay leaves.
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Arrange the chops in the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Sear until nicely browned underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the chops over and cook until browned on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chops and turn to coat them with the juice.
Return the garlic, bay leaves and lemon slices to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the chops are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. They should spring back but still feel tender when gently pressed with a finger, and the center should be very slightly pink.
Transfer the pork chops to a platter and spoon the pan juices, along with the lemon slices, over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti (Weldon Owen, 2011).