by Judy Kim
Pork Chops with Arugula Pesto and Roasted Cauliflower
Yield: 4 servings
A classic pan seared pork chop has never had more flavor. Outside of the summer months when there isn't an abundance of fresh basil, I love this variation on pesto using arugula. The peppery leaves give it a slight punch. Typically pesto uses pine nuts, but walnuts are a great economical substitute and something I always have in my pantry so that's what I used. (Isn't that how cooking goes? Use what you have on hand.) It gives it great texture. If you want that crispy char on your pork chops, let your cast iron pan get screaming hot. Unfortunately I guarantee there will be smoke and in my case that means I'll have to turn off my fire alarm a few times before I'm finished, but it's worth it.
If you want to get fancy, try using meyer lemons in the pesto. Great in the winter time and a perfect way to brighten up the dish.
4 pork chops, 1-inch thick bone-in
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups baby arugula
1 cup chopped basil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
Preheat oven to 425°F. Pat each pork chop dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, add arugula, basil, garlic, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse until finely chopped but the sauce still maintains some texture.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Toss cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 minutes until golden brown and tender.
Meanwhile, preheat a large cast iron pan over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan and add two pork chops. Sear on high for 5 minutes on each side. Remove the pork chops to rest while you cook the last two pork chops. Some suggest to cover meat with foil while it's resting, but in this case I don't suggest it. The steam will soften the delicious crispy edges of the pork chops.
Serve pork chops with a drizzle of the arugula pesto and roasted cauliflower.