Grilled Lemon-Garlic Pork Chops with Mint-Parsley Salsa Verde
Summertime! The sprinklers in the parks are back on, Willa and Phoebe’s knees are all skinned and scabbed, and it’s time for rosé and BBQs. Unlike many renters in Brooklyn who are forced to drag their grills to Prospect Park to light one up, we’re extremely lucky to have backyard access. Granted it’s down two flights of stairs and a trek through a dungeon-like basement. And the yard itself is nothing to take pictures of, filled with weeds and mosquitos. But none of that really matters once the taste of grilled meat hits your tongue.
This preparation is packed with flavor. The lemon and garlic form a potent crust around the chop, and the salsa verde rounds out eat bite with a rich salty herbaceous-ness. The girls still mostly steered clear of the salsa (GREEN!?) but popped a bunch of pre-cut pieces of pork into their mouths.
For the sides, we kept it real simple. We saw our first corn at the farmers market, so we jumped right to it. We’re probably still a few weeks away from peak corn season, but even these ears, simply steamed in salted water, beat the last batch we bought at the supermarket. Corn is also one of Willa and Phoebe’s favorite veggies in the summer–they definitely enjoy the hands-on approach!
The Salt Potatoes are a modified version of something we’ve been cooking for years after spying the recipe in The New York Times, which itself came from Cook’s Country magazine. The version here can not be considered true Salt Potatoes—I really cut back on the amount of salt and butter from the original recipes, but the cooking alchemy that gives these potatoes such a creamy bite still comes through.
- For the Pork
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 4 8 oz. boneless pork chops (see note)
- For the Salsa Verde
- 1/2 bunch mint, leaves picked and washed
- 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, leaves picked and washed
- 1 Tbsp. capers, rinsed
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Mash the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, smash and chop the garlic as finely as possible and mix with the salt.
- Combine the garlic and salt with the lemon zest, olive oil, and black pepper in a large bowl, then add the pork chops and combine well. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and not more than 6 hours.
- While the pork is marinating, make your salsa verde. Combine all the ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped and well combined.
- When ready, allow your grill to heat up on high heat. Once your grill is blazing hot, grill your chops. 5 to 6 minutes on side A and 4 to 5 minutes on side B ought to give you a nice, juicy, medium pork chop.* Allow the meat to rest for at least five minutes before serving.
- This recipe serves four adults. If you are cooking for two adults and two younger kids, you can just buy three chops and divide one up for the kids' portions.
- Even after cooking professionally, I never got the hang of using a real zester. All zesting is done nowadays with a Microplane grater, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.
- Most salsa verdes of this sort include an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. I omit that here by personal preference—this dish has enough zing for me.
- * Trichinosis is not really a problem in the U.S. anymore (it's hardly a problem anywhere, anymore). Don't overcook your pork!
- 2 lbs. small red bliss potatoes (size B)
- 8 c. of water
- 1 c. kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Fresh ground black pepper (optional)
- Combine the potatoes, water, and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. If using an aluminum pot, take care to combine the salt as rapidly as possible into the water—otherwise you can pock your pot. Cook until a paring knife easily pierces through the center of a potato, about 25 to 35 minutes after hitting the boil.
- Drain well and place potatoes back in the pot with butter until coated. Add the optional parsley and pepper.
- I do use Diamond Crystal kosher salt at home, and the original recipe calls for 2-1/2 cups when using this brand. They don't come out "too salty" but I just don't think it's necessary to eat that salt crust that forms on the potatoes. Go for it if you want to try the original!