One of my newest obsessions is the Bon Appetit magazine, especially for the iPad. Most of the recipes are fairly simple but pack a lot of flavor in them. I’m glad I found this Vietnamese pork chop recipe because I was getting tired of the standard garlic and rosemary chops. If you get a thick cut (an inch thick or so) then you can really sear the crap out of it to really lock in that meaty, juicy sauce/marinade that accompanies it. After about 10 minutes in the pan it comes out like this:
From the BA magazine, here is the recipe:
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 1-inch thick-cut bone-in pork chops (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Lime halves (for serving)
Whisk shallot, brown sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, and pepper in a shallow dish. Using a fork, pierce pork chops all over (to allow marinade to penetrate faster) and add to marinade in dish. Turn to coat. Cover and let pork chops marinate at room temperature, turning occasionally, 20 minutes.
Remove pork chops from marinade, scraping off excess (reserve marinade for sauce). Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly season pork chops with salt. Cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Let pork chops rest 10 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, bring marinade to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 4 minutes.
Serve pork chops with reduced marinade and lime halves.
For us, we didn’t need the sauce after we marinaded it but if you’re one to really get it slathered up, go for it. We don’t normally have shallots lying around so a regular small onion will do too.
I also wanted something light and fresh to go with it so I made this Mexican corn salad, which was a little spicy (I added extra for my heartily spiced Haitian man). I would recommend making sure the cheese is finer than I made mine so it blends better. Also, Brunel doesn’t like cilantro so I threw in fresh oregano and rosemary. Really, any fresh herb will do.
4 ears of corn, husked
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 ounce Cotija cheese or Parmesan, crumbled (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus more for serving
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 8–10 minutes; let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a medium bowl.
Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice, paprika, cayenne, if using, 2 oz. Cotija cheese, and 2 tablespoons cilantro in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add corn and toss to combine. Top with more cheese and cilantro.
DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Corn can be grilled and cut from cobs 1 hour ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Since we live in an apartment, we definitely can’t grill so I buy the canned corn, but I have to say it tastes so sweet; it’s one of the few things I will use from a can because it’s fast, easy, and flavorful. This is good for any season, but for the summer it’s better not toast them unless you decide to chill it afterwards. If you want to be adventurous, try it with a little smoked paprika.
Lastly, I had to make something sweet so I made these blueberry hand pies. I also like them because you get to make the dough from scratch which was also way too easy. You don’t even need a mixer, just a blender or food processor will do. I still have yet to perfect the art of rolling dough but I just went with what I could manage. I made 5 instead of 6, but I think next time I’ll double the dough recipe so the bread can really cover all the blueberries.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food proces-sor. Add butter; pulse until the texture of very coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup ice water; pulse, adding more water if dry, until dough comes together in clumps. Form into a square, wrap in plastic, and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
DO AHEAD: Crust can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before rolling out.
Buttery Pie Crust (see above recipe)
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
2 cups blueberries (about 10 ounces)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon raw sugar
Preheat oven to 375°.Roll out dough on a floured surface to a 15×12-inch rectangle. Cut into 6 rectangles.
Toss blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Brush edges of rectangles with water; mound some blueberries in center of each. Fold dough over, and press edges to seal. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut slits in tops.
Bake hand pies, rotating sheet halfway through, until juices are bubbling and pastry is golden brown, 35–40 minutes (juices will run onto parchment). Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.