Wow, what a crazy week! Let me first say that earlier this week, I had to go grocery shopping. I know a lot of people that hate grocery shopping, but I love it. For one, I have a very nice store that I go to in order to get my shopping done. And two, it gives me the opportunity to try something new. Often times when I go to the grocery store, I’ll see an item that I’ve never used before and buy it. Or see something that I heard was great and buy it, with no real idea of what to do with that. That’s when the fun begins. Other times, I see something that I’ve never used before, but because I know a little about it, I start formulating ideas in my head before I even check-out.
Why did I mention all that? Because this trip to the store happened to sort of be one of those latter-type trips. Another thing that made me happy was that the produce department was looking great this time ’round (this is consistently the biggest let-down for me at this store. I can never get great looking produce!), so I was able to pick up some red onions and garlic. The ingredient that I bought however, that was out of the ordinary is something that is the norm for a lot of people. Baby red potatoes. I know it might be a crazy thought, but I’ve never actually cooked little red potatoes, so I figured now would be a great time to start. Plus, I had some really nice pork chops in the fridge back home that I knew they would go well with.
I didn’t actually get around to cooking until Friday, but that’s okay because my results were fantastic. So what I had on the menu for Friday night was spiced and grilled pork chops, and “roasted” baby red potatoes. I say “roasted” and not just roasted because…well, you’ll see in a minute.
The pork chops were fantastic. A few months back, I was at a specialty food store (where I bought the black truffle oil from last post) and I saw that they had some specialty salts. I bought some pink Hawaiian sea salt not knowing what I would do with it. After some research online, I found out that the pink salt is a great companion to pork. So on Friday night, I decided to break it out and see what it was all about. That was the base layer of my spice rub for the chops. I then added fresh ground black pepper, onion powder, dried thyme and (of course) smoked paprika. I grilled them for a total of about ten minutes, and my results looked a little something like:
There were quite a few layers of flavor there, and it hit my mouth in several different places at the same time. It was definitely herbaceous, and next time I’ll know to tone down the thyme a little bit. But the salt flavor was subdued, but I could tell it was there. I’m not totally convinced on this salt, so I’ll probably just use the rest of what I have and not ever buy it again. I also guesstimated on the time of cooking my chops, and they came out perfect. Slightest tint of pink on the inside, and very juicy and delicious.
Now of course, the potatoes. I had fun with the potatoes. First thing, I decided that I was going to cook the whole bag of them. I never use them, and I didn’t want them to go to waste, so I cooked them all. I later realized that it was probably a little too much, but that’s okay. They’re delicious. First, I boiled them for about ten minutes to make sure that after being in the oven, the interiors would be cooked through. This also ensured that, after roasting, I would be left with a nice crisp exterior. And I was not let down. So I boiled them, strained them, put them in a zip-top bag and covered with olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, fresh minced rosemary and fresh sliced garlic. I let that hang out in the bag for about an hour before I finished cooking them. When I opened the bag to put them on the roasting pan, there was an explosion of aroma coming out of the bag, and I knew they were going to be delicious. I put aluminum foil on the pan for easy clean-up. I also brushed it with oil to aid against sticking. I got the oven kicking at about 400°, and while it was preheating, I put some more fresh rosemary on the pan and tossed the potatoes on there so there was just a little more rosemary flavor. I roasted them for about 45 minutes, I think it took and they came out looking great.
The bottoms that were touching the pan were basically fried, which was nice. The rosemary and garlic flavor was very prominent, and the interiors of the potatoes were like little clouds of happiness. And going back to before, I put quotations around “roasted” simply because the potatoes were not just roasted, but par-boiled first. Oh, I forgot to mention that I of course salted the water that the potatoes were cooking in. Didn’t think I needed to mention that, but always want everyone to know the importance that salt holds in the kitchen.
So there you go. It was a fabulous dinner with some great ingredients, and a good end to what amounted to a very hectic week.Sat positive, love your life, and play with your food 🙂