From Food & Wine’s Easy Weeknight Dinners–A meal in 25 minutes!
Andrew and I often get asked whether we use our hundreds of cookbooks. The truth is, we read cookbooks the way other people read novels. Cover to cover. But we don’t always use them. One exception is Food and Wine books. There are 112 recipes on Chewing The Fat from Food & Wine. Last week I picked up their “Chefs’ Easy Weeknight Dinners. 100 fast and delicious recipes from Star Chefs” (Time Inc. Affluent Meda Group 2014). I cooked from it for a week. Guess what? While there are recipes from 24 Chefs, we landed on Jonathan Waxman twice in the same week. Today’s recipe is a triumph of simplicity. Waxman takes to the broiler which he calls “an underused part of the oven”. The chops are broiled 6 minutes a side, topped with a soy-ginger sauce that’s a snap to make, and served on a bed of spinach.
Food & Wine’s Challenge: To come up with delicious dishes for home cooks to make in 45 minutes or less
Jonathan Waxman beat that by 20 minutes. If you don’t know, Waxman was a pioneer of California Cuisine. The Berkeley native is credited with being the first to bring its style–its fusion of French cooking techniques with fresh local ingredients–to New York. But I bet you didn’t know he was first a Ferrari salesman! His boss at Ferrari in Berkeley sent him to Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco. He was hooked. Off he went to La Varenne in Paris, got his Grand Diplôme, and left Ferrari in the dust. He started in Napa, moved on to Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, and then landed as Executive Chef at Michael’s in Santa Monica. And incredibly giving man, he mentored Mark Peel, Nancy Silverton, Roy Yamaguchi, and more recently Aaron Sanchez. In ’83 he opened Jams in New York, in our then-neighborhood, and we’ve been following him ever since.
Everything you need to know about Your Broiler.
Tucked away at the top of your oven, Chef Waxman’s right: The broiler doesn’t get its due. It’s an incredibly versatile tool that doesn’t take any counter space at all. The broiler consists of an ultra-hot heating element, either gas or electric, with a rack underneath it. Cooking food a few inches away is a lot like grilling but with the heat directly above rather than below your food. Flat things cook best under the broiler and should be between ½ and 1-1/2 inches thick. Anything thicker takes longer to cook all the way through and the outside can burn. Always use the high setting and position the rack four to six inches from the heat source. (This recipe calls for 6″). Don’t forget to preheat a full five minutes for the broiler to reach its proper temperature. Here’s today’s recipe followed by Jonathan Waxman’s famous recipe for Chicken.
Jonathan Waxman's Soy and Ginger Pork Chops
A triumph of simplicity, the chops are broiled 6 minutes a side, topped with a soy-ginger sauce that's a snap to make, and served on a bed of spinach.
- Olive oil, for greasing
- 1 whole star anise pod
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Four 8-ounce bone-in or boneless pork chops, about 1to 1-1/2 inch thick
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Step 1 Preheat the broiler. Lightly grease a medium roasting pan with olive oil
- Step 2 In a spice grinder, finely grind the star anise pod. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cumin, coriander, fennel, paprika, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Rub the spice mix all over the pork chops. Set the chops in the roasting pan and broil 6 inches from the heat until golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to plates.
- Step 3 Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger to the roasting pan and simmer over moderate heat for 2 minutes, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the butter.
- Step 4 Spoon the soy-ginger sauce over the pork chops and garnish with cilantro.
- Step 5 Serve with Sautéed spinach.