i confess. i often ... okay, yes almost always! ... buy pomegranate seeds already hulled out of the shell. i'm really not that lazy. it's more that i just can't help it. they are coming into season now and when i go to the market and see the little containers full of those gorgeous red tangy seeds i just can't help buying one or two! which is exactly what i did a couple days ago.
totally unrelated, one thing that i've been surprised about since i've been eating meat this year is how much i like pork chops and tenderloin. and with flying pigs up at the farmer's market every saturday by us, it's very tempting to treat myself at home with a nice pork dinner.
so i searched around for a recipe and when i found this one with pomegranate seeds i just knew i had to try it with the seeds i just bought! we added a bbq spice to the rub for the pork chop, just to give it a bit of complementary flavor to what i expected to be a relatively sweeter salsa.
and in the end, dinner was perfectly delicious. i'm not sure if it's because we bought the fennel at the farmer's market as well, so it was more fresh than usual, but it really had a great flavor. i highly recommend trying this! the recipe also suggests the salsa would pair well with lamb.
pork chops with pomegranate-fennel salsa: serves 4
adapted from gourmet (jan 2002, original recipe online at epicurious, click here)
1 lb fennel bulb, stalks cut off and discarded (although you probably could use some of the greenery as garnish if you'd like)
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tb chopped chives
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp honey
salt + pepper
coarse sea salt
spice rub of your choice (we used a moderately spiced pre-made bbq rub)
4 thick cut pork chops
1. preheat oven to 400F. halve fennel bulb lengthwise and core it, then cut into 1/4 inch dice. cook fennel in olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat, stirring until tender, about 15 minutes. transfer fennel to bowl and stir in pomegranate seeds, chives, vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper.
2. pat pork chops dry and season with coarse sea salt, pepper, and spice rub. heat olive oil in skillet over high heat until hot (but not smoking). sear chops until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes each side. pour off excess oil - the easiest way is to use tongs to hold chop in the skillet and then pour oil out. put skillet in oven (make sure it has a metal handle!!) until 150F internal temperature, turning pork chop over once about 5 minutes in.
* note: we had very thick pork chops and that's why we suggest finishing off in the oven. if you only have very thin pork chops, you could very well just finish in the skillet on top of the stove.