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Cooking School: Melissa Clark and Alex Guarnaschelli’s Pork Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms

Cooking School: Melissa Clark and Alex Guarnaschelli’s Pork Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms
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Melissa Clark

Melissa Clark, one of our favorite New York Times Food columnists, has just started a new Wednesday feature. Called “The Restaurant Takeaway” it is ‘devoted to restaurant dishes you can make in your own kitchen, tested and tweaked for home cooks’.  If the first chapter is any indication, we’re in for a very good time.  This past week, Melissa teamed up with Alex Guarnaschelli, whom any foodie worth his salt knows from her stints on “Chopped” and, prior to that, “Alex’s Day Off”.  This recipe trades on her experience at Butter, her twelve year old restaurant at 415 Lafayette St. (between 4th St. and Astor Place (Tel: 212 253 2828) that has now been

Alex Guarnaschelli

spun off into a second location in midtown at 70 West 45th St which uses the same telephone number (!).  The downtown Butter is a beautiful room and may be one of the most under-rated restaurants in New York.  Chef Guarnaschelli is masterful with meat and this recipe may change the way you cook it.

         Melissa Clark points out that the key difference between how home cooks tackle a steak or chop is profoundly different from how a Pro like Alex does.  Most of us just choose to either pan sauté our creations or roast them in the oven.  The reason a restaurant chop is so far superior is because the professionals make this a two step process: First the chop is seared over very high heat to develop a rich brown “crust”.  Then it’s put into the oven to complete the cooking process. The result is a deeply brown exterior with tender juicy flesh underneath, so completely unlike the dried-out stove top version.   The technique is about as simple as it gets: The preparation of the chop involves salt and pepper and nothing else.  This recipe pairs the almost naked chop with a mustard sauce that’s easy to whip up and wonderfully creamy.  Pan-

Jane Maguire and John Quigley of
Long Island Mushroon Inc.

roasted Shiitake Mushrooms complete the dish.  I feel very fortunate to have teamed up with Long Island Mushrooms Inc. who provide me with all the Shiitakes, Miatakes, and Oyster Mushrooms I can use.  LIM Inc can be found at Farmer’s Markets all over the East End in spring, summer and fall and this winter, they’re a big draw at the brand new Farmer’s Market Saturdays at 117 East Main St. in Riverhead LI.  Soon you’ll be able to order their sensational produce on line at www.longislandmushroom.com. Take a look at the site and see what they’re all about.   In the meantime, put your apron on and make this dish in about 40 minutes. Melissa serves it with buttered noodles.  I eschewed the carbs and went for sautéed spinach instead.  It was terrific and I don’t think I’ll cook a pork chop another way from now on.  Here is the recipe:


4 thoughts on “Cooking School: Melissa Clark and Alex Guarnaschelli’s Pork Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms”

  • I've been just looking for an excuse to have the Times delivered to PA, Monte. The online edition is just not the same as actually holding it in my hand. It's funny that you should mention Chopped, it is the only Food Network show that I enjoy. I actually thought of you this past Sunday, I think it was, when the basket ingredients all had to be used for hamburger making, lol…I was delighted with who won!

    These Pork Chops look amazing! I've actually heard about Long Island Mushrooms through T.W. and Edible Long Island. Living in PA, the purported Mushroom Capital of the World, has its benefits but, for some reason a good selection of mushrooms is not always available at the local Farmers' Market. I'm not sure why, however, it can be quite frustrating. (most of the fruits and veggies sold are "Amish" produce. (that is an entirely different story:)

    I have learned so much from watching Chopped, and yes, preparing the Pork Chops as Melissa's has shared definitely makes a difference. When I can get my hands on really good chops and prepare them like this, I don't even need to brine them! I kinda wish I was having these for dinner tonight. Although, I made a "mean" vegetable soup which is simmering quite nicely "as we speak." Thank you so much for sharing, Monte…Enjoy your evening…

  • Dear Louise! Happy two days after Valentine's Day. I completely agree with you. Nothing beats having a hard copy of the Times. I imagine you've checked but one of the suprising things is that a delivery subscription is much less expensive than picking the paper up anywhere else. Too bad you can't get a Wednesday subscription. The joy of getting most of Sunday's Times on Saturday is another great feature. The only problem I have is switching back and forth between houses! (Not a bad problem to have…). I must tell you that I bought a rack of pork at Costco which provided four very sturdy Pork Chops that I used in this recipe. Finally, although I have not posted it, the soups I've been making all winter with leftovers have been an epiphany–delicious and warming and a pleasure on lo these many many snow days! All best to you Louise and as always, thanks for commenting. It means a lot to me.

  • Hi Monte,
    Happy, I lost count how many days after Valentine's Day, lol…I was indeed surprised to see the difference in the subscription prices in mailing versus picking it up or having it delivered in New York. It was the same thing when I worked for Newsday, which I wouldn't dream of having mailed to PA. The subscription rates were less, why I don't know:) Apparently, mail subscription is not available in my neck of the woods in central PA. I live in a very rural area. Hence by food shock. No Costco here either! We are suppose to be getting nice weather on Saturday. I am seriously thinking about heading down to New York. I did the back and forth two house thing for 10 years before permanently moving to PA. However, it just never occured to me how much I was going to miss "real" food. I'm thinking about serious shopping online. I haven't bought much food online before but it is sounding better these days. Soup has been on the menu lots this season here too. But, truth be told, I'm ready for the grill!!!

    It's is a pleasure visiting Monte, I may not make it here everyday, as a matter of fact, I began a blogging hiatus this past Sunday, but I will be back and you are in my sidebar. I won't be back to blogging until March 2nd. I'm planning the garden for this year and doing a bit of regrouping:) I planted peas seeds today!!! Tomorrow lettuce! I have a small greenhouse in the house. It's cold in the mud room but at least the seeds will be planted:)

    We had sunshine today! I even snapped a picture of a quick rainbow! Sending sunshine your way, Monte, "see" you soon, Louise

    P.s Having a problem with this going through. Hope it did:) I just subscribed to your blog in feedburner:)

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