A Fancy French Dinner March 25, 2010Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food.
It’s spring, it’s spring! Yay!
You know what spring means, right? It means we can un-shroud (de-shroud?) the grill and enjoy some charred beast! Woo hoo!
And what do you know? Just as the snow was retreating and the sun was coming back out, one of my regular blogs showed me how they grill pork in France. Sort of, anyway.
You know, this intrigued me. I mean, it was PORK! And BLACK PEPPER! and LEMON! And, of course, BOOZE! Ding ding ding! I think we have a winner! And there’s even a little fennel for good measure, besides.
The thing is that, um, we’re not French. I mean, we’ve certainly made an attempt to cook French food here and there, but let’s face it. We’re a couple of Swedes, and Swedes who like to do things our own way, at that.
So we did what we do, and we. . . personalized the original recipe. Personalization – that’s what cooking’s all about anyway, right?
I mean, sure, we started by boiling the requisite “couple of handfuls” of black pepper (you DID watch the video, right?), then made a syrup by adding sugar and lemon parts.
While the syrup was cooking, though, we decided to kind of go our own way.
We didn’t have fennel pollen because, well, obviously.
Besides, I don’t know about you, but “fennel pollen” strikes me as a mighty Frenchy-French sort of ingredient, you know? So, for that subtle fennel flavor, we decided to just mince some fresh fennel fronds. Not too much, not too little – just right.
And we mixed the fronds with a bit of kosher salt and some coarse-ground black pepper. Again, not too much, not too little. And you know, rather than just sprinkle each component part of the seasoning on the chops directly, why not make an actual wet rub?
Only it seems that we don’t typically keep the Armagnac called for by the recipe. Go figure.
Though I think we did have some at one time, but . . . we don’t now. But what we do typically keep in the house is a small bottle of bourbon.
That’s right. Good old American-made Kentucky bourbon.
A splash in the the rub, and another splash right on the pork chops. Why not?
And in the meantime, we turned our attention to the Miel de Poivre, the pepper honey. Actually, that required very little attention – it had simmered over a low heat and thickened quite nicely – almost to the consistency of actual honey.
And that was about it, really. We grilled the chops to an almost medium state, and the once we turned them the final time, we spooned some of the pepper honey over each chop, being sure to use plenty of peppercorns.
We served with a nice tossed salad and oven-roasted sweet potatoes – and it was delightful. The pork was ever-so-lightly seasoned, with just a touch of bitterness from the bourbon and a hint of fennel, with the sweetness of the honey contrasting sharp bite of the pepper.
Who needs all that fancy French stuff anyway?