This recipe has a few components, but the carrot puree and arugula can be prepared of head of time. I blended the arugula with herbs, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil to make a sauce. It’s like a liquid salad. The arugula sauce on it’s own is a bit bitter, but it goes really well with the sweeter carrot puree, and the pork. And the longer it sits, the better it gets. On the pork chops, make sure to get a good sear on the grill as that helps build flavor and trap in the juices. Be careful not to overcook the pork. Also, the best part are the juices from the pork as it rests when it comes off the grill. Let the pork rest directly on your serving plates so you don’t lose the juices!
Grilled Pork Chops, Carrot Puree, Arugula, and Crispy Onions, for 4
4 large thick-cut, bone-in, pork chops
2 tbsp thyme leaves
1 orange, sliced
cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons of butter
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 chile de arbol, cut in half and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup heavy cream
cumin oil (optional)
2 ½ cups arugula, loosely packed
⅔ cup parsley leaves
⅔ cup basil leaves
2 tbsp chives
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp good balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 egg, whisked
⅓ cup flour
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
Pat the pork chops dry and season them with cracked black pepper, 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves, and arrange over half of the orange slices. Place the rest of the orange slices on top. Leave in the refrigerator at least one hour or overnight. Remove about 45 minutes before grilling.
Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add carrots, and simmer until easily pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Drain and reserve. In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add the onions, the rest of the thyme, the chile, and the garlic. Simmer over medium low heat until onions are soft and translucent, about 20-25 minutes. Season with salt. When the onions and carrots are both ready, blend them together along with the heavy cream in a food processor until pureed. Season with salt and pepper, and add a few drizzles of cumin oil if you can find some. Keep warm until the pork is ready.
Mix the ingredients for the arugula sauce in a blender. Add the liquids slowly, as you may not need to add all of it. Turn the blender on the highest setting to get a smooth sauce. Set aside. You will end up with more sauce than you need, so save it for leftovers. Cutting it in half may make it difficult to blend well. If you find it is difficult to blend as is (maybe if you have an extra large blender), just add more of the olive oil and vinegar until you are able to blend it.
Heat the vegetable or canola oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Mix the onions in a large bowl with the egg, and then add the flour and a dash of salt. When the oil is hot, place a handful of onions in the oil in an even layer. Fry until golden brown, flipping occasionally. Remove and drain on a paper towel, and repeat the process with the rest of the onions.
When you are ready for grilling, season the pork chops generously with kosher salt, and drizzle with olive oil. Grill each side for about 7-10 minutes. Pork chops are easily overcooked and dry, so err on the side of underdone. You can always stick them in the oven for a few more minutes if they are not fully cooked.
Serve the pork over the carrot puree and top with the arugula sauce, and fried onions. Enjoy!