To explain, agrodolce is an Italian sauce with a sticky consistency. Its name is Italian for “sour” (agro) and “sweet” (dolce). A classic agrodolce recipe contains reduced honey or sugar, vinegar, pine nuts, and a mixture of dried fruits and veggies, such as golden raisins, red onion, dried figs, or currants. The vinegar you use to make agrodolce impacts the flavor of the sauce. Here we used balsamic.
This simple sauce with limited ingredients is a quick agrodolce. Meats such as pork chops, chicken breasts, and steak benefit from a sauce with sweet-tart flavors post-grilling or pan-searing. And we paired our chops with a wonderful side of Roasted Winter Squash with Lime, Chili and Cilantro.
*If desired and you have the time, season the pork chops with salt and pepper, place them on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours.
Pan-Seared Bone-In Pork Chops with Maple Agrodolce
- 2 (14- to 16-oz.) bone-in pork rib chops, 1½ inches thick, trimmed
- 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- *Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, place them on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours.
- Pat chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with pepper. Place chops 1 inch apart in cold 12-inch nonstick or carbon-steel skillet, arranging so narrow part of 1 chop is opposite wider part of second. Place skillet over high heat and cook chops for 2 minutes. Flip chops and cook on second side for 2 minutes. (Neither side of chops will be browned at this point.)
- Flip chops; reduce heat to medium; and continue to cook, flipping chops every 2 minutes, until exterior is well browned and meat registers 140 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes longer. (Chops should be sizzling; if not, increase heat slightly. Reduce heat if skillet starts to smoke.)
- Transfer chops to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. If serving more than 2 people, carve the meat from the bone and make slices about 1⁄2″ thick. Season meat with coarse or flake sea salt to taste. Serve with bones, if desired.
This easy, elegant sauce from Cook’s Illustrated is the perfect accompaniment to cuts of pork, such as the above Pan-Seared Thick-Cut, Bone-In Pork Chops. Using maple syrup as a sweetener in place of sugar contributed viscosity, enhancing cling, and an attractive glossiness. Plump raisins, or dried figs add pleasing texture, and minced shallot and red pepper flakes amp up the savoriness, keeping the sauce from becoming cloying.
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. minced shallot
- 2 Tbsp. chopped golden raisins OR dried figs, chopped
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Pinch table salt
- Bring all ingredients to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes (sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).
- Serve. (If not using right away, cover to keep warm.)