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Grilled, Mains

Garlic-caper grilled pork chops with Sicilian sauce

Garlic-caper grilled pork chops with Sicilian sauce
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

I am not a cook. I am, in fact, the only person I know who's as passionate about food as I am who doesn't cook. Oh, I can broil a piece of meat or fish or chicken and -- like ... Read more

Total time: 50 minutes, plus 8 hours chilling | Serves 4

Pork chops

  • 3 tablespoons salted capers, soaked 10 minutes in cold water, or capers in vinegar
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tightly packed, fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • About 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 (1-inch-thick) rib or loin pork chops
  • Salt

Step 1Drain the capers. Mince together, in a food processor or by hand, the capers, garlic and rosemary. Blend in the oil and pepper. Coat both sides of the chops, set on a plate, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Step 2The next day, heat an outdoor grill to medium-high and grill the chops, or cook on a grill pan or in a 12-inch skillet, lightly filmed with oil, over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chops with salt, and grill or cook until the chops are barely firm when pressed and lightly blushed with pink inside (150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), about 6 to 8 minutes per side. Serve hot, with a large spoonful of sauce.

Sicilian sauce

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Grated zest from 1 large orange
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup whole canned tomatoes, drained

Step 1Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, rosemary and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook until the onion begins to color, then add the sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon as the sugar melts and bubbles (taking care not to burn), then finally turns pale amber, while the onions remain light-colored.

Step 2Immediately add the oregano, basil, zest and garlic. Standing back to avoid splatters, quickly add the vinegar. Stir and boil down until the vinegar is a glaze, coating the onion and barely covering the bottom of the pan, 8 to 10 minutes. Continue to scrape down the pan's sides, to bring the developing glaze back into the sauce; watch for burning.

Step 3Stir in the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as they go into the pan. Boil, scraping down the sides and stirring, until the sauce is almost sizzling in its own juices. It should be a thick jam that almost mounds on a spoon. Finish seasoning with a few grinds of pepper, turn out of the pan and cool. Serve at room temperature or warm. Store covered in the refrigerator. (Makes about 1 cup.)

Note: From "The Italian Country Table" by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Scribner, 1999.).


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