Pork Chop and Portuguese

I had already decided before I got home that I wanted pork chop for supper, but I wasn’t sure how many and what I wanted along with it. I decided I should use some of the whole wheat Portuguese rolls that I bought fresh the night before. I also decided to limit myself to one pork chop, and not cook one for lunch the next day, because of the wicked cholesterol.

I put a pan on the stove, turned on the heat, and poured some olive oil into it. I actually used too much oil; all I wanted was a skim to keep the pork chop from sticking. It was a thin, lean, well-trimmed pork chop, but even still I figured it could provide most of its own grease once it got going.

I also turned on the oven to about 300 degrees and put two rolls on a cookie sheet inside it.

As the pan heated I packed ground beef and my spare two pork chops into the freezer. Then I threw my remaining chop into the pan. I sprinkeled the exposed side with a dash of cayenne, generous cinnamon, and basil. The pan had gotten up a good heat and it wasn’t long before I had to flip it. In fact it still seemed to be cooking too fast, not leaving my rolls enough time to heat up, so I reduced the heat a bit. I also pulled out the leftover escarole and onions from the night before and dumped it into the pan to reheat, after sprinkling the newly exposed side with the same spices.

On inspiration from the cinnamony smells wafting from the pan, I grabbed the last of the previous week’s apples and, after removing the core, I sliced it thinly with the chef’s knife. I squeezed that into the pan alongside the pork chop, spiced it, and put a lid on it.

Then I stuck a plate in the oven. I have earthenware plates that get a chill sitting the cold apartment all day and they can suck the warmth out of your food. But five minutes or so in the oven gives them warmth that will keep your supper alive longer.

The face of the pork chop that I had first sprinkeled must have got the pefect temperature from the pan; the cinnamon and spices seared onto it perfectly so that it was a wonderful speckeled brown. I didn’t get that to stick on the other side, even though I flipped it back over; I think the lower temperature and the addition of the wet fruits and vegetables kept things from sticking.

It was marvelous. I had thought about putting the chop in the roll for a sandwhich, but it worked much better on the side. The flavors in the chop were too soft to hold up over the whole wheat roll. I put a little bit of butter in the roll and some cinnamon, but mostly it tasted like hot whole wheat roll; it offset any excessive bite left in the cayenne. The apples were slightly softened, even though they did not cook long, because they were sliced so thin. Yet they retained enough texture to have a different bite than the crusty role, the resilient chop, and the soft-almost-mushy escarole.

Although it was put together out of things I had gotten at different times without ever thinking to coordinate, it came off like a culinary symphony. Or maybe just a folk song; but a good one.