Giardiniera aioli and Cumin coriander pork chops
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1 tablespoon coriander seeds (or 1 tablespoon coriander powder)
4 bone-in pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, about 8 ounces each
coarse kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
giardiniera aioli (see above)
If you’re working with whole cumin and coriander seeds, place them in a dry, cold nonstick skillet and toast them over a medium-low flame. Shaking the skillet frequently, toast seeds until they’re fragrant and beginning to pop, three to five minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. When completely cool, grind in a spice grinder. Set aside. (If you’re working with ground spices, simply combine them in a bowl.)
Arrange chops on a plate. Season on both sides with half the cumin/coriander spice mix and a generous coating of kosher salt (use a heavy hand – you’ll wash it off later). Let the chops rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
Season chops with the remaining cumin/coriander mix and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a skillet large enough to hold chops in a single layer over medium-high flame. Add enough oil to coat bottom of the pan. When oil is shimmering, add chops. Cook about four minutes per side, or until an instant read thermometer registers at least 145 degrees F. Plate chops and top with a dollop of aioli. Serve. Pass additional aioli at the table.
Spicy? Not spicy? We’re big fans of a little heat. As such, we heartily recommend using hot giardiniera. But if heat is a deal breaker, use mild giardiniera – you’ll get the wonderful flavor without the pain.
Oily? Not oily? Traditional giardiniera is packed in oil and vinegar. Often, though, we’ll seek out the variety packed in water and vinegar instead, to save some calories. This version needs the oil-packed version. Even when you drain it, there will be some residual oil; it adds to the smooth creaminess of the aioli. Residual water would fight the creamy texture.