Pork Chops with Gremolata
Brine & Chops:
- 1 tablespoon pickling spice
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger, with peel
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 4 1 1/2-inch-thick rib pork chops (about 4 pounds)
- Vegetable oil for the grill
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the pork chops: Use the bottom of a saucepan to crush the pickling spice, then scoop into the saucepan. Toast over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes, swirling the pan frequently. Add 1 cup of the water along with the ginger, salt, sugar, and garlic. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and add the remaining 1 cup cold water. Cool brine to room temperature, then add the pork chops, cover, and refrigerate 4 to 12 hours.
Prepare an outdoor grill with a medium-high fire for both direct and indirect grilling.
Meanwhile, make the gremolata: Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with the salt, and, with the side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Put the garlic in a small bowl and stir in the parsley, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and red pepper. Season with black pepper to taste.
Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry. Rub the grill grate lightly with oil. Grill the chops on the hottest spot on the grill, turning once, until each side is slightly charred, about 4 minutes per side. Move chops over to the cooler side of the grill and continue cooking, covered with a disposable aluminum pan, until medium, about 5 to 7 minutes more. (An instant-read thermometer inserted crosswise into the chops should register about 140 degrees F.) Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Divide chops among 4 plates and serve topped with the gremolata.
Gremolata is usually the final flourish of flavor added to tender braised osso buco. But the notion of chopped fresh herbs with citrus and extra-virgin olive oil just calls out to the smokiness of grilled foods. Expand the herbs: Add rosemary or thyme and substitute orange for the lemon when serving with chicken, fish, or lamb.