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Pork Chops with Peperonata

Nearly every region of Italy has its version of peperonata–sautéed sweet peppers that are usually served as a contorno, or side dish, sometimes with capers, anchovies, herbs and/or olives for extra flavor. Here, pork chops are braised with the peppers to create a main course popular in southern Italy. Use any leftover peperonata to make a frittata for another meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4 center-cut pork loin chops, each about 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. red bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into narrow strips
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into narrow strips
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut lengthwise into narrow strips
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and quartered

Directions:

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the pork chops and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil in the pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the peppers are tender but not soft, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano and vinegar.

Return the chops to the pan along with any accumulated juices, and smother them with the onion and peppers. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the peppers are soft and the chops are tender but still pale pink and juicy when cut into the center with a knife, about 15 minutes. Stir the olives into the sauce.

Transfer the chops to a warmed platter or individual plates, spoon the olives and peppers over the top and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking, by Charity Ferreira, Dana Jacobi & Carolyn Miller (Oxmoor House, 2008).