This recipe uses thick, bone-in pork chops slathered with a bright and tangy mix of lemon, sage, fennel seed, garlic, and hot pepper. The savory coating creates a slightly acidic and spicy balance to the pasture-raised pork. Bone-in pork chops generally have more intense flavor and remain juicy if properly cooked. With pork chops, you have to be careful not to overcook the meat: aim for a pink tinge in the center of each chop.
While I developed this recipe so that you can easily prepare a quick mid-week meal without any fuss, if you have a little more time, quickly grill the chops, smooth the mixture over the top, and finish in the oven for about 5-7 minutes.
Before serving, add a squeeze of fresh lemon and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
4 large pork chops, bone in (about 1½ inch thick)
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Rinse and dry the chops.
3. Gently toast and grind the fennel seeds.
4. Peel and crush the garlic.
5. Wash and zest the lemon.
6. Wash and chop the fresh sage.
7. Place the olive oil, lemon zest, red pepper, fennel seed, sage, and garlic in a small bowl and mix until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed to form a small paste.
8. Put the chops in a roasting pan, drizzle a little olive oil on them, and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
9. With a small spoon, evenly spread the herby lemon spice mixture over the topside of the chop.
10. Place the chops in the oven, and bake for about 8-12 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Pork chops are best when they are still slightly pink and juicy in the center. When you turn the chops over after 8-12 minutes, be gentle so that the paste holds to the chops.
11. Let the chops rest for about 5 minutes, and then serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.