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Big Sky Bites: Seared pork chops with cherry tomatoes

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Cast iron also makes for great presentation. PHOTO BY SAM BROOKS

By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF

For the chef that detests cleaning a soapy mass of pots and pans once a meal is finished cooking, the humble cast iron skillet might just be the silver bullet.

It’s a curious thing, how few people actually use this kitchen tool, considering it was invented around 2,500 years ago. More curious still is that given its versatility you’d think it would form the cornerstone of every kitchen. 

Imagine: whole meals can be made in a single go, such as roasted chicken and baked vegetables or seared salmon and garlic with broccoli. Then, in the morning, use the same pan to make shakshuka with feta, whip up a batch of pancakes or even bake a pie.

One of the many benefits, and perhaps its chief utility, is the cast iron skillet’s ability to seamlessly transition from stovetop to oven during the course of just one recipe, which allows for greater control, especially when cooking meat.

Not to mention, treat them well and they can last several lifetimes.

Cast iron-seared pork chops marinated in herbs and vinegar, paired with hot, sweet and bursting cherry tomatoes—the first recipe I ever used my cast iron for—might just make you a convert. 

Recipe:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless pork chops
  • 3 springs thyme, stripped and chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions:

  1. At least one hour before cooking, place the washed and patted-dry pork chops in a bag with salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, garlic and apple cider vinegar
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F, placing an empty cast iron skillet inside on a rack aligned to the middle of the oven
  3. Once the cast iron has reached oven temp, place immediately over a stove burner on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  4. Sear the chops 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned
  5. Surround with cherry tomatoes and rosemary sprigs
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness of the chop
  7. Remove and transfer meat to a cutting board, allowing to “rest” for 5 minutes
  8. Cook tomatoes for 5 more minutes
  9. Remove
  10. Enjoy

Tip: Add a spoon of fresh pesto to the top of each chop before eating.

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