Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vietnamese Pork Chops

I have a hard time ordering the same thing twice in a restaurant. I like to try something new each time in case I find something better than what I tried last time. This is the exception. In a Vietnamese restaurant, this is what I order: every time. I always think I'll try something different, but just can't bring myself to miss out on the supreme tastiness of Vietnamese marinated and grilled pork chops. I could never pick out exactly what the flavors were, and I still couldn't say for sure, but I did run across this version from Mark Bittman that is quite delicious. Apparently the real deal has caramelized sugar in it giving it a more complex flavor than the honey called for in this version, but it is a darned good replication that I am happy to now have in my arsenal. If you haven't used lemongrass before, you remove the tough outer stalk until you get to the inner layers that are bit more tender. You should get about one tablespoon of minced lemongrass per stalk.

Vietnamese Style Pork
via Mark Bittman
Makes 4 servings.

2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste, or soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork chops or country-style ribs
1 lime, quartered
Thai basil or cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)

Whisk lemongrass, garlic, honey and fish sauce in large bowl. Add lime juice and pepper. Place pork in the bowl, turning to coat; let stand while you preheat grill or broiler.

Grill or broil pork, spooning marinade over as it cooks, until nicely done, about 10 minutes. Turn only once so that each side browns nicely. Serve with remaining lime and, if you like, the herb garnish.
I served it over this noodle salad, but the pork chops are the star!

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