Otherwise known as the Date Night Pork Chop, rubbing a little honey across the surface of the meat before searing guarantees a shiny, caramelized crust—and a kiss of sweetness 😉 Then pair that with a lemony endive and apple salad, and you’ve got the ultimate dinner for two.
You want to season your 1-pound, 1½” thick pork loin chop in advance and let it sit out at room temperature (it cooks much more evenly that way). Pat chop dry with paper towels and place on a plate. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper, turning with tongs; set aside while you do your prep (it can sit at room temperature up to 1 hour, but prep won’t take you that long).
Our chop was a hefty boy, nearly 2 1/2″ thick, so we had to alter the preparations a tad. I did follow the searing steps, including the fat cap. After that, I placed the cast iron skillet with chop directly into a 400° oven for an additional 12 minutes. And truth be told, even though I checked the temp with an instant read thermometer, and we let it rest for 10 minutes, the very center was still a bit too rare. We just nuked those few slices in the microwave.
The hazelnut mixture added wonderful flavor and texture to both the meat and the salad. You may think a starch was missing, but the meal completely satisfied and we didn’t feel deprived whatsoever.
Yes dear, we’ll go on this date again…
Honey-Shellacked Pork Chop
1 lb. bone-in pork loin chop, 1–1½” thick
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 oz. Parmesan
- 3 Tbsp. raw unblanched hazelnuts
- 1 medium shallot
- 1 large or 2 small Belgian endive
- 2½ tsp. honey, divided
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lemon
- Pat chop dry with paper towels and place on a plate. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper, turning with tongs; set aside.
- Shave 1 oz. Parmesan cheese with a vegetable peeler, then use your fingers to break into small shards. Cover with a damp paper towel (to prevent it from drying out).
- Using the bottom of a medium skillet, preferably cast iron, smash 3 Tbsp. hazelnuts, a few at a time, on a cutting board, breaking into bits.
- Peel 1 shallot, then finely chop.
- Separate leaves from 1 large or 2 small endive, trimming from the bottom as you work your way to the core. Place in a medium bowl, cover with damp paper towel, and chill until ready to use.
- Preheat skillet you used to smash hazelnuts over medium heat. Drizzle ½ tsp. honey over one side of pork chop, then drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil. Rub with clean hands all over surface of chop, then turn and rub second side with same honey-oil mixture to evenly coat (this will help the pork caramelize as you cook it).
- Lay pork in skillet and cook, leaving it be, until first side is dark brown and caramelized all over, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook second side until browned, about 3 minutes longer. Turn pork chop upright and hold on its side with tongs to sear fat cap; cook about 2 minutes.
- Turn heat to low and cook chop another minute on both sides. Transfer to cutting board and insert an instant-read thermometer into middle of chop, about ½” from bone. It should register about 130°. If it’s under, cook another minute or two, then let rest on cutting board 5–10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
- Add hazelnuts and 2 Tbsp. oil to skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring with tongs, until hazelnuts turn golden, about 3 minutes.
- Add shallots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until shallots are softened and browned and hazelnuts smell toasty, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in remaining 2 tsp. honey. Cut 1 lemon in half and squeeze juice from one half into skillet. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
- Cut around core of 1 apple, removing flesh in 3 lobes. Thinly slice 2 of the 3 pieces, then snack on the remaining piece if you like.
- Remove bowl of endive from refrigerator and add apple and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, squeeze second lemon half over, and toss to coat.
- Cut bone away from chop and cut meat into ½”-thick slices. Place pork and bone on one side of a large plate and pour juices over; season with salt.
- Gently arrange salad next to chop. Spoon shallot-hazelnut mixture over salad and pork and serve.
Recipe by Claire Saffitz from Bon Appétit