I have never been to New Orleans.
I have a number of friends who make an annual pilgrimage to the Big Easy; some for the food, some for the music, and all for the joie de vivre for which the city is so famous. As a lover of great food (and jazz), I'm embarrassed and a bit sad to admit that I've never made the trip myself. New Orleans has long been known as one of this country's premier food and music destinations, and while I'm thinking that the whole Mardis Gras scene would be a bit much for me, it is definitely high on my list of spots to visit one day.
In the meantime I've decided to satisfy my cravings for New Orleans grub by cooking some of it myself. To do that I've enlisted the help of one of the top chef-restaurateurs in the city, Susan Spicer, who owns Bayona and Herbsaint. Her cookbook, Crescent City Cooking is dynamite and is loaded with recipes showcasing her very creative spin on traditional southern cooking. In the book, Susan calls for using Satsumas (a type of tangerine indigenous to the area) in the marmalade, but feel free to substitute normal tangerines, or clementines as we have here. The marmalade is amazing with the pork, but would be equally as good next to chicken, duck, sausage, or ham. I finished off this dish with a simple smashed sweet potato and a fresh, green salad……LOVED!
Cheers – Steve
for the brined pork chops:
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 5 allspice berries
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 bone-in pork loin chops (at least 1" thick)
for the clementine marmalade:
- 8 clementines (or 6 tangerines or Satsumas)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 4 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- prepared horseradish to taste (we used 3 teaspoons)
- kosher salt to taste
- Place all the brine ingredients (except the pork chops) into a medium sauce pan along with 3 cups of water. Bring the brine to a boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar and salt, then simmer for 5 minutes. remove from the heat and cool completely. When cool, pat the pork chops dry then place in a Ziplok bag with the cooled brine. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight, flipping the bag at least once to make sure the chops are evenly marinated.
- When ready to serve, remove the chops from the brine, pat them dry with paper towels, and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Sear (over medium-high heat), grill, or broil for 5-6 minutes on each side. Serve hot with the marmalade on the side.
- To make the marmalade, juice 2 of the clementines, removing the seeds. Grate the zest of the remaining clementines, then peel, segment and cut the flesh into small-ish pieces, removing any seeds and reserving the juice.
- Place the zest, clementine pieces, juice, sugar, onion, tomatoes, vinegar, ginger, and 1 cup water in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring the mix to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 35-45 minutes. When the mixture is thickened and almost syrupy, stir in the horseradish to taste, then add the ketchup. Season with salt and let cool.