On this arid evening, I decided to visit a random restaurant in the neighborhood and discovered a delicious lemongrass grilled pork chop. It tasted sweet, tangy, and had a delicious saltiness that I later realized was fish sauce.
I've always been afraid to make pork chops because they can be dry and flavorless if prepared wrong. But I had beautifully cut pork chops in the fridge and some lemongrass in the freezer and felt this would be a preparation that would do them justice.
First, the mise en place:
(From left to right, minced lemon grass, lime/lime juice, minced garlic, honey, fish sauce - nam pla, black pepper)
I created the marinade by combining all the ingredients above and marinated the pork chops in them for about an hour.
I prepared a large cast-iron skillet on high heat and sauteed the pork chops, allowing the sugars in the honey to caramelize and give the meat a delicious burnt sweetness.
Dinner is served!
Recipe (adapted from the Minimalist)
VIETNAMESE-STYLE PORK CHOPS
Time: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon nam pla
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork chops or country-style ribs
1 lime, quartered
Chopped Thai basil or cilantro for garnish (optional).
1. Whisk lemongrass, garlic, honey and nam pla in large bowl. Add lime juice and pepper. Place pork in the bowl, turning to coat; let stand while you preheat grill or broiler.
2. Grill or broil pork, spooning marinade over as it cooks, until nicely done, about 10 minutes. Turn only once so that each side browns nicely. Serve with remaining lime and, if you like, the herb garnish.
Yield: 4 servings.