|Pork Chops with Vermouth Braised Fennel
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
6 black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
juice of half a lemon
2 thick-cut pork chops or pork steaks
2 medium bulbs fennel
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup white vermouth
Combine the rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, and salt in a mortar and pestle (or use a small food processor). Pound them together into a paste, then pour in the olive oil slowly while continuing to pound. When you have a loose paste, scrape into a shallow bowl large enough to hold the pork and squeeze in the lemon juice. Stir well and add the pork, covering well with the marinade. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, or even better, an hour.
In the meantime, peel and slice the fennel thinly, then rinse well. In a saucepan or small pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the fennel. Toss to coat well and allow to soften and begin to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the vermouth with a pinch of salt, cover, and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated and the fennel is tender.
Heat a cast iron grill pan or broiler. Scape away most of the marinade from the pork. Cook the pork until desired doneness, about 5-6 minutes per side depending on thickness.
- serves 2 - Adapted from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater.