Hey there, hungry people!
Lately, I’ve been absolutely thrilled by the explosion of growth in my balcony garden. The combination of rainy and warm weather has worked wonders for my herbs, and I found myself with an abundance of fragrant greens. So, naturally, I decided to whip up a batch of summer herb pesto to put them to good use.
After giving my herbs a quick trim, I ended up with a generous few cups of these vibrant beauties. And guess what? I even had enough pesto left over to freeze for future culinary adventures. Believe me when I say, I’m already excited to bust it out in like, 3 months or so.
Here’s What You Need
- Pine nuts: Provide a rich, nutty flavor and creamy texture to the pesto sauce.
- Parmesan cheese: Adds a savory and salty taste to the pesto, enhancing its overall flavor.
- Fresh basil: Infuses the pesto sauce with a refreshing and aromatic herbal note.
- Fresh lemon thyme: Brings a citrusy and herby flavor to the pesto, adding complexity.
- Fresh oregano: Contributes a robust and earthy taste to the pesto, complementing the other herbs.
- Rosemary: Imparts a distinctive pine-like aroma and a slightly minty flavor to the pesto.
- Mint: Provides a cool and refreshing element to the pesto, balancing the herbaceous flavors.
- Garlic powder: Adds a hint of garlic flavor to the pesto, enhancing its overall taste.
- Lemon juice: Provides a tangy and bright note to the pesto, adding freshness.
- Herb-infused olive oil: Acts as the base for the pesto, binding all the flavors together and adding richness.
- Thick-cut pork chops: Serve as the main protein component of the dish, delivering tender and juicy meat.
- Olive oil: Used for marinating and grilling the pork chops, adding moisture and promoting browning.
- Red pepper flakes (optional): Offers a hint of spiciness to the marinade, adding a kick to the dish.
Let’s Get Started
Creating a simple and refreshing pesto is a breeze. To begin, grab a small food processor and pulse together some pine nuts and cheese. The aromatic blend of these ingredients will get your taste buds tingling in anticipation.
Once you’ve achieved a coarse texture, it’s time to incorporate the star of the show: the herbs. Pour in some olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and your freshly trimmed greens.
Ah, the scent of those fresh herbs is truly tantalizing.
Continue pulsing until you achieve a smooth and luscious pesto. Remember to refrigerate it until you’re ready to use, and don’t forget you can freeze any excess for future pesto cravings.
While you work on your pesto masterpiece, let’s not forget about the juicy pork chops that are waiting to be transformed into a delectable feast. Take the time to marinate the pork in a blend of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat. Allowing the pork to reach room temperature before grilling ensures even cooking and maximum flavor infusion.
Now, if you have a grill, go ahead and fire it up. If not, a trusty grill pan works just as well. Grease it up and sear those beautiful pork chops on each side, creating those glorious grill marks that make any meat look irresistible. Then, transfer the chops to a preheated oven set at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes. This additional cooking time in the gentle heat of the oven ensures that your pork reaches the perfect level of juiciness.
Remember, patience is key here! Allow the pork chops to rest for another 5-10 minutes before serving or slicing. This crucial step helps retain those flavorful juices, resulting in a succulent and tender bite. Finally, top your pork chops with a generous dollop of the vibrant pesto sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for an extra kick of flavor.
Additional Tips & Tricks
- Toast the pine nuts: Toasting the pine nuts before using them in the pesto can enhance their flavor. Simply heat them in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. Be careful not to burn them!
- Adjust the consistency: If your pesto turns out too thick, you can add more olive oil to achieve the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, you can add more cheese or nuts to thicken it up.
- Customize the herbs: Feel free to experiment with different herbs based on your preferences or what you have on hand. The pesto’s flavor profile can vary depending on the herbs used, so get creative!
- Don’t overcook the pork: Overcooking pork chops can result in dry and tough meat. Follow the recommended cooking times and use a meat thermometer to ensure they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for safe consumption.
- Let the meat rest: Allowing the pork chops to rest after cooking is crucial for retaining their juices. Cover them loosely with foil and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.
- Slicing the pork: For an elegant presentation, consider slicing the pork chops before drizzling the pesto sauce. This allows for even distribution of flavors and enhances the overall visual appeal.
- Serving suggestions: Pair the pesto pork chops with your favorite sides such as roasted vegetables, a fresh salad, or crusty bread to complete the meal. The vibrant pesto can also be used as a dip or spread for other dishes.
- Freezing leftover pesto: If you have leftover pesto sauce, you can freeze it in ice cube trays or small containers. This way, you can easily defrost and use it for future meals, avoiding waste.
To complete this fantastic meal, I suggest serving your pesto-infused pork chops alongside some smashed potatoes. Now, I know what you’re thinking, smashed potatoes might resemble baby food, but trust me, they taste like delicious adulthood.
It’s a comforting and satisfying side dish that perfectly complements the flavors of the main course.
So there you have it, hungry people—a recipe that combines the freshness of summer herbs with succulent pork chops, creating a burst of flavor that will leave you craving more.
I hope you enjoy this delightful dish as much as I do. Until next time, happy cooking!
Pesto Pork Chops
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon thyme
- ¼ cup fresh oregano
- ⅛ cup rosemary
- ⅛ cup mint
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup herb infused olive oil
- 16 oz (2) pork chops thick cut
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes optional
- pinch salt & pepper, to taste
- Mix together the marinade for the pork and chill. In a small blender or food processor, pulse together the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Add in the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until well combined.
- Pulse in the fresh basil, fresh lemon thyme, fresh oregano, rosemary, mint, garlic powder, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil until a smooth pesto sauce is formed. Chill the pesto sauce until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bring the pork chops to room temperature before cooking.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and sear the pork chops for about 2 minutes on each side, creating grill marks.
- Transfer the seared pork chops to the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute and keep the meat tender.
- Pour the prepared pesto sauce over the pork chops and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve the pesto pork chops immediately and enjoy!