A Summer Feast: Pork Chops & Zucchini with Mint Pesto

by 2 July 19, 2015

I've been inundated with zucchini and mint lately and came across a new recipe, Zucchini "Pasta" with Mint Pesto, which has become my new summer favorite. I have made it three times in two weeks-not counting the time I made it for a party and it was promptly wiped out. I thought that was pretty telling considering it was up against perennial favorites; pulled pork, ribs, and potato salad. I have paired it here with a tried and true pork chop recipe with a tomato gravy which also takes the current abundance of tomatoes into account. The recipe calls for canned tomatoes but don't shy away from using fresh - just cut and seed them and cook them down in place of the canned. These two recipes along with a salad makes a great summer meal!

Zucchini "Pasta" with Mint Pesto

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, about 2 large bunches
  • 3 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 lb zucchini, put through a spiralizer or grated lengthwise (or use shredder blade on food processor-see notes)
  • 1/2 red chili, seeded and minced
  • 1 oz ricotta salata or feta, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In mini-food processor or blender, pulse mint, 2 tbsp almonds, and salt until finely chopped. Add lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil and pulse again. Add ½ tbsp water or more 
as needed until mixture becomes a thick, spreadable pesto. Season with salt to taste.
  2. In a large skillet, heat remaining 
1 tsp olive oil over medium-high. Add zucchini and chili and sauté until tender, 7–10 minutes.
  3. Serve zucchini topped with pesto, ricotta salata or feta, and remaining 
1 tbsp toasted almonds.
NOTES: I used the shredder blade on my food processor and it did the trick. The “noodles” are not as long as using the grater orspiralizer but it is quicker and it doesn’t affect the end product which is DELICIOUS! Recipe by Kerri-Ann Jennings, Courtesy of Yoga Journal  

Pork Chops with Mama Brock's Tomato Gravy

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 2 tbsp bacon fat
  • 2 tbsp fine cornmeal (preferably from Anson Mills)
  • 3 cups canned San Marzano tomatoes (or use fresh- see notes)
  • 1 tbsp each kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Four hours before you’re ready to cook, salt the pork chops generously and refrigerate
  2. When you’re ready to cook, heat the bacon fat in a large saucepan on high. Stir in the cornmeal with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the cornmeal turns light brown, about 5 minutes. Crush the tomatoes and add them to the pot. Raise the heat to medium and simmer the gravy, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the grill on high. Remove the chops from the brine and pat them dry. Rub them with oil and season with pepper; grill for 8 minutes on each side for medium.
NOTES: This recipe calls for canned tomatoes but when in season I have used fresh tomatoes successfully. Just cut and seed them (I suppose you could skin them if you are feeling ambitious). They will need a little extra cooking time as opposed to the canned tomatoes.
Adapted from Sean Brock, Husk in Charleston. Courtesy of Men’s Health Magazine


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