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Grilled Pork and My Favourite Vegetable

2009/11/09

Grilling season never ends at my place. It could be -20C outside and I’m still more than happy to fire up the BBQ. That said, the unseasonably warm weather over the past week has allowed me to spend even more time out there. I popped around to one of my favourite butchers and had him cut me a couple thick, Frenched pork chops from the fatty end of the loin. The conversation was quite funny and the pertinent part went something like this:

Me: “I’d like two chops cut from the fatty end, please.”

Butcher: “We prefer to call it marbled.”

Me: “I call it fatty because that’s what it is. Fat equals flavour, and I have no problem calling it such.”

To round out supper, I prepared a couple simple sides. First, I tossed chunks of butternut squash in olive oil, salt, pepper, garam marsala, and dried chiles for a little heat. Roasted at 375F until a knife pierced them easily, the sweetness of the squash played nicely off the slight heat of the spices.

The other side was my favourite rendition of my favourite vegetable. Rapini della mia Nonna (rapini in the style of my Nonna). I’ve been eating this since I was little and I absolutely love the bitterness of the rapini and the piquancy of  dried chile and garlic. Chile flakes can be substituted if you don’t have a whole dried chile.

The rapini was blanched in boiling salted water for a couple minutes and then shocked in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. It was drained, all excess water squeezed out, and the strands separated. Olive oil, a whole clove of garlic (or two, depending on how much rapini is being cooked), and a dried chile was warmed over medium-high heat to start releasing aromas. The rapini was added, seasoned with salt and pepper, and sauteed briefly to blend in the infused oil. This last step only took about 30-60 seconds.

Grilled pork chop, rapini della mia Nonna, roasted butternut squash

Grilled pork chop, rapini della mia Nonna, roasted butternut squash

And there you have it!

Next up is a return visit to Loire for supper. Stay tuned!

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