Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Pair Chop Chop, Pork Chop with spicy Pineapple Salsa.


Chop Chop, Pork Chop

Makes 4 servings. This recipe is from the Pork Information Bureau, courtesy of Bob Blumer, The Surreal Gourmet, who says, “Pineapple combines with cilantro to add a sweet-savory accent to these succulent thick-cut pork chops.”

4 pork loin rib chops, 1¼- to 1½-inches thick

Pineapple Brine (see recipe)

1 to 2 tbls. olive oil

½ fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 4 long pieces

1 or 2 fresh serrano OR jalapeño chilies, seeded and thinly sliced

4 small green onions, thinly sliced

3 tbls. fresh lime juice

2 tbls. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (I substituted with parsley)

2 tbls. maple syrup

½ tsp. salt

Pineapple Brine:

2 tbls. salt

2 tbls. packed brown sugar

4 cups water, divided

6 ozs. pineapple juice (3/4 cup)

1. For Brine: Stir together salt, brown sugar and 1 cup water in small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally, until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in 3 cups cold water and pineapple juice; let cool.

2. Place pork in large, resealable bag. Pour brine mixture over pork; close bag to seal. Turn bag to evenly coat pork with brine. Refrigerate for 3 hours, turning bag occasionally.

3. Remove pork from brine; discard brine. Pat pork chops with paper towels, then brush with olive oil. (I lightly seasoned with pepper.)

4. Prepare a medium-hot fire in grill. Grill chops, uncovered, over direct heat for 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature of pork reaches at least 145 degrees, turning chops over halfway during grilling. At the same time, grill pineapple until slightly golden and caramelized, turning over often. Transfer chops to cutting board. Loosely cover with foil; let rest for 3 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, for salsa, finely chop pineapple. Place chilies, pineapple, green onions, lime juice, cilantro, maple syrup and salt in medium bowl. Gently toss until mixed. Serve salsa with chops.

Note: If fresh pineapple is unavailable, use a 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained (do not grill).