Cooking with Bwog: Winter’s Fruit
Written by Bwog Staff
After saving so much cash earlier today, Bwog thought to splurge a little. To reward ourselves after a rigorous day of studying, Bwog was in the mood for something warm and hearty. Unfortunately Casa Fiesta refried beans didn’t cut it. A second trip to Westside, however, yielded the makings of a gourmet dinner. If you’re lucky and have extra time on your hands tomorrow night, Bwog suggests making a Pork Chop with Pomegranate and Fennel Salsa for your Sunday supper.
The arrival of pomegranates at bodegas and supermarkets each November is one of the few perks of winters in the city. Not only are pomegranates delicious, but they’re healthy too, rich with antioxidants and other good stuff. Although eating the seeds alone is nice, cooking with them is even better. Their versatile taste, a bit sweet with sharp sour kick, and their crunchy texture is an excellent complement for meat. Paired with pork, the pomegranate salsa enhances the sweet, toothsome flavor of the meat.
If this meal seems a bit extravagant for your taste, it’s worth noting that Westside currently is selling pomegranates and pork chops at affordable prices – $1.39 for the fruit and $2.40 for 1/2 lb pork chop. This recipe makes far more salsa than you’ll want for just one pork chop. But it saves well and can be reused with other meats.
Pork Chop with Pomegranate and Fennel Salsa
- 1 lb fennel bulb (sometimes called anise), stalks cut off and discarded
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 large pomegranate)
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- a pinch of salt
- 1 (1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick) pork chop
Halve fennel bulb lengthwise and core it, then cut into 1/4-inch dice. Cook fennel in 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer fennel to a bowl and stir in pomegranate seeds, scallions, cilantro, vinegar, honey, and salt.
Pat pork chop dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté chop until deep golden and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer chop to plates and let stand, loosely covered, 5 minutes.
Serve chop topped with salsa.
This dish goes very nicely with roasted sweet potatoes. If you’re feeling particularly enterprising try this easy recipe:
Sweet Potatoes with Lime
• 1 sweet potato, washed and pricked
• juice of one lime
• 3-4 cilantro leaves
• a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake the sweet potato whole in its skin, until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the potato is tender, slit open the skin, and scoop out the flesh onto a serving dish. Season with salt. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top, and sprinkle with 3 or 4 cilantro leaves.