Our Top Chef reveals all! Looking at the menu in his own restaurant, Fabio presents tips and tricks to creating a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen.
- Simple food done well is the goal. The trick is to have quality ingredients.
- Presentation is the difference to turn an ordinary $3 pork chop into $15 meal. An easy way to achieve this at home is to pick the right garnish for your plate (grilled citrus is easy), then slice your meats and arrange them with edible herbs.
- Brining (placing meats in a simply flavored salt bath) is a great way to bring restaurant quality to your home table, because you really can infuse your meat with astounding flavor. Just because they do it faster in restaurants, doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste.
- For the serious home chef, a vacuum-sealed water cooking bath is available, but by making a simple adjustment in method to allow more time to brine (about 4 hours) and then searing off in cast iron and finishing in the oven, you'll get great taste out of nearly any protein you pick.
The Best Pork Chop You Ever Made
Recipe by Fabio Viviani
Yield: 2 chops
2 8-10oz bone-in, center-cut pork chops, 1" thick
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 lemons, juiced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 cups water
2 tbsp. black peppercorns
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 dried bay leaves, crumbled
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed (stems discarded)
2 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tbsp. Kosher salt
2 lemons, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs sage
4 sprigs rosemary
Place pork chops in a large zip-top plastic bag.
In a large bowl, combine all the brine ingredients and mix to combine.
Pour the brine into the bag, over the pork chops, and seal.
Place the bag into a large bowl (in case any leakage occurs), and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Remove brined pork chops from the refrigerator.
Pat chops dry with paper towels.
Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large cast-iron or oven-safe, stainless steel pan set over medium-high heat.
Sear each chop for about 2 minutes per side, until a golden brown crust is formed.
Transfer pan to the pre-heated oven, and cook for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
Remove from the oven, lightly cover with foil, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, lightly coat lemon halves in olive oil.
In a separate small, stainless steel pan over medium-high heat, sear the lemons, cut side down.
Continue to cook until they are dark-brown and softened.
For A Restaurant-Quality Presentation:
On a plate, arrange a bed for the pork chop, consisting of: 1 sprig of parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of sage and 2 sprigs of rosemary.
Place cooked pork chop in the center of the herb bed.
Put 2 lemon halves beside the pork chop.
Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Repeat with the remaining pork chop.