Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: pork chops with sweet corn and pancetta relish
Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them and cook up a feast.
Last weekend, some of the staff from Marczyk's Fine Foods attended the Niman Ranch Farmer's Appreciation dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. "There were farm tours, lectures and the grand finale dinner, a six-course feast prepared by some of America's best chefs in honor of the farmers, now about 800 strong," says Barb. Every course, she adds, was required to have a pig component, and while Barb says she got her swine fill -- and then some -- today's recipe comes courtesy of Lance Dean Velasquez, chef of John Frank Restaurant in San Francisco, who cooked at a former Niman Ranch dinner. "Delicious pork and fresh corn: Hello, August," declares Barb.
Pork chops with sweet corn and pancetta relish
4, 10-ounce Niman Ranch pork chops, boneless or bone-in
1/4 cup olive oil
3 sprigs each thyme, basil and marjoram
1 tablespoon fennel seed
*Preheat oven to 40 degrees
1. In a small bowl, combine thyme, basil, marjoram, fennel seed and olive oil, and mix well. Pour over chops and set aside, covered, for 2-4 hours.
2. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add pork chops and sear both sides. Finish in the oven, baking 6 to 7 minutes for pinker meat, or 10 to 13 minutes for medium. Remove chops to a resting rack and season with salt and pepper.
Sweet Corn and Bacon Relish:
1/2 pound pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (bacon, preferably Niman Ranch, can be substituted)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1 /2 cup sweet onions, diced
1 each red and green bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 cups (approximately 3 ears) sweet white and yellow corn kernels, silk removed
½ cup fresh lime juice, strained
2 limes, zested and blanched to remove bitterness
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup cilantro leaves, rough chopped
1. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, zest, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and red chile flakes. Set aside.
2. In a non-reactive saucepan, add olive oil and saute pancetta until light brown. Remove pancetta and drain on paper towels.
3. Add onions to saucepan and cook until translucent. Add bell peppers, garlic and ginger, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until garlic and ginger are soft.
4. Add lime juice mixture and bring to a simmer; add corn kernels and season with salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes over a medium flame. Remove from heat, add pancetta and cool. Once cooled, add cilantro, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
Place seasoned pork chops on a warm dinner plate or large platter. Spoon room temperature corn relish over pork chops. This dish can be garnished with a small green salad or garden vegetables.
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