Throughout my life I have envied people who are creative. Growing up, I languished in the shadow of my sister Kathy, a natural-born artist who ultimately used her talent to become a chef. Most of my life, I’ve been able to recognize and appreciate art but have seemed incapable of creating it on my own. This evening I somehow ventured off the known path of comfort and safety and found myself coming up with a brand new dish, and it made me pretty excited. Why? Because it was quite delicious.
I just had a feeling this concoction was going to be a winner. Maybe it’s because I used the beautiful mortar and pestle that I received from Scott last Christmas. Other than adorning our countertop, the heavy marble piece get little use, a fact I need to change.
I started this recipe by creating a savory pesto, in my mortar. Some rosemary, fresh crushed garlic, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, all held together by olive oil. It seemed things were off to a good start, indeed they were.
Next, to lock in the juices and finish off the outsides, I did a quick sear of some boneless, center cut pork chops over a high flame.
After searing the pork, I set it aside and let it cool for about five minutes, then I rubbed each chop with the savory pesto I had just put together. You can see from the photos I didn’t have to use a lot, and as it turned out, just a little of the garlic infused pesto went a long way.
You may not believe this, but I had never used puff pastry before this evening. I had never even purchased it prior to today! Here’s the other part you may not believe: I had no idea how to use it. The Internet is an amazing tool, and with a quick Google search, I found this, pretty much all I needed to know!
Once I got these puppies wrapped up and applied an egg wash to help give them a golden brown sheen, I popped them in the oven and as you can see, concurrently roasted some quartered new potatoes using the convection setting of my oven.
It may seem pretty minor, and I suppose in the grand scheme of things it was, but sometimes dreams do come true. This recipe resulted in some great tasting, tender, warm, and juicy pork chops.
If you’re wondering what savory tastes like, friends, this is it. The rosemary lightly but noticeably supports the garlic undertones and the two effectively envelope each cut of meat in taste, much like the puff pastry delicately but completely encases each piece. We served this with the roasted potatoes and some oven roasted asparagus, all accompanied by a glass of Merlot. It doesn’t happen with every meal, and certainly not with every new recipe, but once in a while everything clicks. As a former boss use to advise me, “Smoke ’em when you got ’em.” Tonight we smoked ’em good, with this savory combination of fresh herbs and pork.
Savory Encrusted Pork Chops
- 1 1/2 - 2 lbs. boneless center cut pork chops
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 6 cloves garlic crushed
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 egg beaten
- Remove sheet of puff pastry and allow to thaw at room temperature, about 30 minutes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet or saute pan, over high heat
- Place pork chops in pan and sear on each side, 1 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Combine garlic, the needles of 2 sprigs of rosemary, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Using either a mortar and pestle or small food processor, work ingredients into a pesto.
- Roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface.
- Using table knife divide dough into sections large enough to wrap each pork chop.
- Lightly coat each pork chop on both sides, with prepared pesto and place on cut out pieces of puff pastry.
- Wrap each each chop with pastry.
- Pinch edges together to seal completely.
- Use pastry brush to apply egg wash to each wrapped chop.
- Place on baking sheep pre-treated with non-stick coating and bake for 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately, using 2 reserved rosemary sprigs as garnish.