OWhen cooking, I like to use idle time to my advantage. These two recipes illustrate this approach perfectly: while the pork chops are soaking up their spice blend, you can switch gears and chop up the onion and radicchio that will be served on the side. Later, while the chops are resting, you turn to the sauce. With the shrimp dish, while the rice simmers, the cook is free to prepare the tomato-kimchi mixture. Every minute of the recipe brings you closer to the finish line because, at the end of the day, all we really want to do is eat.
Salt and Sugar Pork Chops (top photo)
A little sugar mixed with the salt helps these chops brown during their relatively short cooking time, and while they rest, do the wilted greens (which are actually red) in the pan juices. It’s an extremely simple combination that adds up: salty, salty, meaty, sweet and a little bitter. If you want to increase this to make enough for four, there are several ways to do it: get out a second frying pan and cook the chops in two pans simultaneously, then go down to one when it’s time to wilt the radicchio; or wipe out the pan, add another three tablespoons of oil, and cook the second batch of chops in the same pan before moving on to the greens.
Preparation 15 mins
To cook 25 minutes
2 tonssp salt
450g 2½cm thick bone-in pork ribs
1 head radicchio (340-400g)
1 small brown onion, peeled
4 tonstablespoons grapeseed oil or other neutral oilmore if needed
1 lemoncut in two
Flaky saltto serve
Dijon Mustardto serve
Combine salt and sugar in a small bowl. Lightly pound the pork chops with a meat mallet, rolling pin or the heel of your hand until they are about 1cm thick. Pat dry then season with the salt-sugar mixture. Let the chops rest while you prepare the radicchio and onion.
Cut the radicchio and separate it into individual sheets. Cut the leaves into irregular pieces of 7½ to 10 cm. Thinly slice the onion crosswise, then separate into rings.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes. Drizzle in three tablespoons of oil (you need enough to completely cover the surface, so add more if needed), then carefully slide the pork chops into the pan. Press down to make sure the center of each chop is making good contact with the hot oil and the pan and cook, turning every minute, for a total of five to six minutes, until very well done. golden with some charred spots on the oiliest areas. The flesh will still be a little pink – if you like yours more well done, add a minute or two to the cooking time. Transfer to a large plate to rest.
Carefully drain the fat from the pan and wipe away the burnt bits. Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about four minutes, until the onion rings are soft and lightly browned. Add the radicchio in batches, tossing the leaves into the hot pan and letting them wilt before adding more, until all the radicchio is in the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring, for three or four minutes, until the leaves are wilted and tender, but the thickest part of the rib still has some bite.
Squeeze the juice from half a lemon, mix again, then pour the radicchio on a dish and pour a little honey on top. Cut the chops against the grain, lay them on the leaves and sprinkle with the remaining juice. Season with flaky salt and serve with the remaining lemon half and mustard to slide the pork.
Herbed rice with shrimp-kimchi tomato sauce
Kimchi and butter complement each other like hot sauce and sour cream. The push-pull of spice, flavor and sweet richness is the foundation of this abundantly umami, sassy, bouncy and supremely easy dinner. The spicier your kimchi, the spicier the sauce will be – add a few dashes of hot sauce if you want to amp it up even more at the end.
Preparation 15 mins
To cook 25 minutes
220g short grain white rice
150g cabbage kimchi
90g Butter without salt
220g Cherry tomatoesany color
450g large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 5cm pieces
25g basil leavesminced
Place the rice in a fine-mesh colander and rinse under cold running water for about a minute, until almost clear. Drain, then put the rice and 310ml water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. As soon as the liquid simmers, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for about 18 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop the kimchi. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foamy, then add the kimchi and any of its juices and cook, stirring occasionally, for three minutes, until thickened. the liquid simmers. Add the tomatoes and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for three to four minutes, until the tomatoes begin to crumble and their skins are wrinkled. Gently press the tomatoes with the back of a spoon to crack open and release their juices, then simmer for another three minutes, until the sauce thickens.
Add the prawns to the sauce, lower the heat and cook very gently, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until barely opaque: do not boil the prawns – cook them slowly this way to keep them tender and juicy. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed (between the kimchi and the naturally salted shrimp, you may not need any additional seasoning).
Stir the rice with a fork, then gently stir in the herbs. Serve the rice with the shrimp sauce on top.
Recipes from That Sounds So Good: 100 Real-Life Recipes for Every Day of the Week, by Carla Lalli Music, published by Hardie Grant at £22. To order a copy for £19.14 go to guardianbookshop.com