Eighteenth century English recipes that pair pork and mustard abound in both manuscript and print sources. Alex Guarnaschelli of Food Network fame serves the same combination at Butter, her Manhattan restaurant. The highly strung chef may not always exhibit much self-awareness or flexibility as a judge on “Chopped” but did display a winsome lack of composure combined with an eagerness to assist her colleagues as a contestant on “The Food Network Challenge.” She lost that one but deservedly became an ‘Iron Chef’ in 2012. The style of cooking at her flagship restaurant, ‘Butter,’ is fairly straightforward, or what passes for straightforward in these days of culinary complexity and contradiction. Guarnischelli may not realize it, but her tendencies run to British combinations like lamb with anchovies and pork with mustard and vinegar. This dish reflects that. For two; may be doubled.
- 2 2-inch thick pork chops on the bone
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
- ½ cup grapeseed or corn oil
- 1 Tablespoon Sherry vinegar
- another Tablespoon safflower or grapeseed oil
- 6-8 mushrooms, cut flat just past the stem
Preheat the oven to 375°
- Season the chops heavily with salt and pepper; let them stand while you follow the rest of the recipe.
- Whisk together the mustard, half cup of oil and vinegar until silken and plump.
- Heat a cast iron skillet big enough to hold the chops over medium heat, smear the Tablespoon of oil across the surface of the hot pan.
- Once the oil shimmers, place the mushrooms in the skillet cut side down and cook until deep gold brown, usually in 5 minutes or less.
- Turn the mushrooms and cook them until the capsides too turn a deep gold brown. Remove them from the skillet.
- Increase the heat to high, then replace the mushrooms with the chops and cook until they turn brown, usually in less than 10 minutes: Peek at their pansides after 5.
- Turn the chops and shove the skillet into the oven until the pansides of the chops brown too.
- Take the chops from the oven and allow them to rest for a good 10 minutes.
- Serve the chops with the mushrooms and emulsion, painting a stripe across each chop and taking the rest of the sauce to table.
-Melissa Clarke’s version from The New York Times uses shiitakes instead of ordinary button mushrooms. They will turn crunchy cooked in the same way as their ordinary cousins. The texture is appealing.
-Clarke, however, prepares only half the amount of emulsion and that is not enough. She also specifies thinner (1¼ inch) chops, but in this case thicker is better.
Unaccountably, Clarke writes that the chops will take more or less time to brown “depending on thickness,” but thickness has very little to do with the time required to sear a surface.