Last night I had another one of my super-vivid dreams. People who are into dream analysis and psychic phenomenon would say that dreams like this are actually astral travel, also known as astral projection. The spirit leaves the body and goes traveling around the cosmos, interacting with other beings while the body slumbers on. If you’ve ever experienced the sensation of slamming into something as you wake up (I have), that’s the soul slamming back into the body as the body wakes up.
I don’t know if I think this is a reality – the jury’s still out on this one – but I do believe that the body and soul are two separate entities, and so, for me, such a thing is in the realm of possibility. I sure hope it’s true, though, because last night I was walking around Europe with my rock-star culinary idol, Anthony Bourdain (sigh….). He’s a writer of such incredible food books as Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw, and host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations show on Monday nights at 9:00. He travels, eats, writes, and exposes us to parts of the world we can only dream about visiting. He visits locals and treats them with respect, showing the viewers exactly what life is like in other parts of the world. He’s ridiculously imperfect, too, which is part of his charm.
I have no idea why I was traipsing down side streets with Tony, but there I was, talking and “fixing” one of his shows. He was funny, intelligent, and a little snarky, which makes some people detest him and others, like me, love him. We were on some cobbled street, it was a sunny day, and I was skinny – that’s how I knew it was a dream. We had a meal, (I remember pork was involved), laughed, drank too much wine and then he got sick had to lie down. Can you believe I got Tony Bourdain sick from too much pork? Jeez, only me.
So, in his honor, and with the fervent hope that I did actually share a meal with him someplace in the universe last night, I offer the following pork recipe. It’s from the Les Halles Cookbook, page 171. Super easy and delicious, it makes a great entree for company. Serve with potatoes of some sort, a crisp-tender pile of green beans and a crusty loaf of bread to get every little bit of the sauce.
Cote de Porc a la Charcutiere
- 1 T oil
- 1 T butter
- 4 pork rib chops, about 10 oz. each
- salt and pepper
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup dark, strong chicken or veal stock
- 2 T dijon
- 10 cornichons, thinly sliced
- 1 sprig flat leaf parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375F. In an oven-safe saute pan, heat the oil, then the butter. Season the chops (on both sides) with salt and pepper, then sear in the hot pan for 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for another 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the chops. Set them aside on the platter, loosely covered with foil, while you make the sauce.
Return the saute pan to the heat and add the onion. Cook until golden brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and reduce by half, scraping, scraping of course. Add the stock (and you really do need a good, dark, strong stock for this). Reduce the liquid by half. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mustard. Add the cornichons, the parsley and any nice juice that has run off the cooked pork chops. Adjust the seasoning. Arrange the chops on the platter and pour the sauce over. Eat.
Note: You can always finely chop the cornichons and put the sauce on the plate under the chop, instead of on top. That’s what this picture by Sean at TakeThouFood.com shows. Those are purely aesthetic changes that I wouldn’t make until you’ve made it the Les Halles way first.
Enjoy this super-easy dish, and next time you see Anthony Bourdain in New York City, tell him mamadeon says “hello”.
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