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PAN-SEARED PORK CHOPS WITH CORNICHON BUTTER

Serves 2

Although Paula lived in Paris for eight years, this lovely date-night bistrostyle main course with an unforgettably good pan sauce is one of the few Parisian recipes she ever published.

INGREDIENTS

Marinde

  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Pork and Butter Sauce

  • 2 bone-in loin or rib pork chops, each about 1 1/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick (see note)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 or 5 cornichons, rinsed and finely chopped (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon

*NOTE: Paula wrote this recipe for 4 thin pork chops (each about 1/2 inch | 1.25 cm thick) and served 2 chops to each diner. But thin bone-in chops are difficult to find today, so the more widely available thick chops are used here. If you can find the thinner chops, follow the recipe as written but shorten the final cooking time to about 4 minutes.

DIRECTIONS

To make the marinade, in a shallow dish, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Add the pork chops and rub with the marinade to coat both sides evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight and bring the pork back to room temperature before proceeding.

For the butter sauce, in a small bowl, using a fork, mash the butter with the cornichons. Set the butter aside in a cool place. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. In a heavy 10- or 12-inch (25- or 30-cm) frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the chops and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides but not yet cooked through, about 6 minutes total. Transfer the chops to a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pour off the fat in the pan and discard. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the vinegar and water to the pan and boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced by half (2 tablespoons total). Add the cornichon butter and swirl to make an emulsion.

Return the pork chops to the pan, turn down the heat to low, and cook, basting with the pan sauce, until an instant-read thermometer inserted at the thickest part away from bone registers 140°F (60°C) for medium, about 9 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley and tarragon and serve.