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Pork Chop Heaven, aka: Pork Chops with Fennel Pollen

pork chops

Fennel pollen is kind of expensive but also really amazing. There really isn’t a great substitute for it, so if you’ve got a little extra money, I’d invest in some. So fragrant. Kind of like if you mixed fennel with curry and some kind of mystery tasty ingredient. I’ve seen it online at Amazon. I was going to go that route but, in the words of jwa, I was able to score some through my “shadowy, underground, food blog connections.”

Actually, I made a comment on twitter about wanting to get some and a fellow pdxer offered to sell me some from a big, fancy food order they were putting together! But honestly, I think “shadowy, underground, food blog connections” sounds better. Much more mysterious…

Even without the fennel pollen, I think these are worth making with the brine alone. The chops are so flavorful and juicy!

Pork Chops with Fennel Pollen
Adapted from Secrets of a Restaurant Chef
Brine
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp fennel seed
2 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic smashed
1 1/2 quarts cold water

4 bone-in pork chops
1 tbsp wild fennel pollen*

To make the brine: In a large container, add all of the ingredients and stir to combine.

pork chops

Submerge the pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for 2 days (the original recipe called for 3 days but I only had 2 days. Turned out amazingly well and I almost think they would be too salty after 3 days?). So, after the 2 days remove the chops from the brine, discarding the brine.

pork chops

Pat the chops dry with a paper towel.

pork chops

Preheat an grill or grill pan. Use a little of olive oil on the cooking surface of your choice to prevent sticking. Roll the fat edge of each pork chop with the fennel pollen. Place pork chops gently on the preheated grill or grill pan. After 3 to 4 minutes rotate the chops 90 degrees to create decorative grill marks.

pork chops

Grill the chops for another 3 to 4 minutes and then turn over and repeat the process. If the chops seem to be burning move the chops to a cooler part of the grill to allow for longer cooking time without burning. Stand the chops up so the fat edge is in contact with the grill to crisp up the fat edge, this will also make the fennel pollen very aromatic.

pork chops

Remove the chops from the grill and let rest in a warm place before serving. The doneness of the meat should be about medium to medium well and very juicy.

pork chops

On the side, in the Fall/Winter polenta would be great (it was the pairing on the original recipe). Since it was a little warm when I made this (in the 70′s! Woo!) I made a raw fennel, apple, goat cheese and walnut salad.

Fennel, Apple & Goat Cheese Salad
Recipe adapted from Chavrie Goat Cheese Website
5.3 oz goat cheese (room temperature)
2 apples (I used Pacific Rose)
1 celery stalk
1 Fennel bulb
1/2 tsp Lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Remove core and slice apples. Do the same with the fennel. Add those two items to a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Dice up the celery and add that to the bowl.

pork chops

Fold in goat cheese and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper.

8 comments to Pork Chop Heaven, aka: Pork Chops with Fennel Pollen

  • Heather

    So much more interesting than the grilled cheese and tomato soup I have planned for dinner tonight. Fennel pollen, now that is something I have never seen!

  • mlb

    Heather: Thanks! I hadn’t heard of it either until about a year ago. Then it was on my list to try. Oh, so good!

    I am sure your grilled cheese and tomato soup is fantastic! ;-)

  • That looks truly delicious – can’t wait to try those chops. And the apple salad looks like a wonderful accompaniment.

  • Oh Yum! I had fennel pollen for the first time recently in an amazing lobster dish. It was something of a life altering experience.

  • Lee Grace in Southern Springtime

    Will it help my allergies? Maybe a little inoculation of pollen will immunize me! we’ll have fun tasting it in any case!

  • Oh, what a beautiful pork chop! Spreading the word about brining should be considered an act of extreme kindness to the world. :-) I’m brining a pork tenderloin this weekend. Hope I can score the fennel pollen in time. Can’t wait to try it. Excellent post, thank you! …Susan

  • Don’t you love Anne Burrell? Her show is pretty much the only thing I look forward to as far as FoodTV goes. Some people find her a little annoying, but her recipes are great (particularly if toning down the salt a little…

    Now you got me longing for fennel pollen, and I don’t even use Twitter…. I guess I’m in trouble :-)

  • mlb

    John: Hope you try the pork chops & salad! Great combo ;-)

    Lauren: Yep, I agree on the life altering experience!

    Lee Grace: It won;t make your allergies any worse! Fennel pollen, the GOOD pollen…

    SallyBR: I love the kinds of foods she cooks too (I think our palate’s are similar) but sometimes (like you) I shudder at how much salt she uses. I find her manner a little annoying, but not enough to change the channel. Again, because her food looks so good! :)

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