I noticed recently that some of my twitter friends had posted adaptations of a pork chop recipe from Richard Olney, one of the first and still maybe the best American food writer on French cookery. His work studs my cookbook shelves, for he was prolific and brilliant.
From him I and many others became inspired to cook real French food with an emphasis on Provence and on good wines. He mentored Alice Waters and Kermit Lynch, among others.
I never met him but I feel like I did after having immersed myself in his books for years and cooked hundreds of his recipes and techniques.
We have a really cool fireplace grill that was marketed here by Alice Waters, made in Italy of very sturdy iron. We use it to cook all winter over oakwood fires. I thought I would do one of our typical evening’s meals adapting this Olney recipe:
Pork Chops with Mustard Apple Sauce
Adapted from Richard Olney Simple French Food
4 thin pork chops, rib or loin, brined
2 T. butter
2 lbs. cooking apples, peeled, cored, sliced thin
8 oz heavy cream
5 T. Dijon mustard
4 T. white wine
Freshly ground black pepper, sea salt
Brine chops for 1 hour. Pat dry, moisten with olive oil. Heat grill in fireplace over high heat. Put apples in buttered earthenware vessel uncovered (tajin or cazuela) in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Grill chops for about 7 minutes on each side over very hot coals while apples roast. Put chops on top of apples in earthenware dish on front of grill over lower coals. Add splash of white wine, place back over coals, reduce. Mix mustard with cream and pour over chops and apples, shaking to let it sink into apples. Grind pepper over top. Simmer over coals for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is reduced slightly.
*brine – 1/4 c. kosher salt, dissolved into 1 qt. Warm water. 1 T. ground sage, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1T. Steens Syrup or brown sugar. 1 T. dried thyme.