Pork Chops with Orange & Fennel Salad

Where have I been? Not dead, just busy.

So it’s especially nice to find a recipe that comes together easy and is delicious. The pork here is juicy, tender, and flavorful; with it’s sprinkling of fennel seeds, it’s reminiscent of a good pork sausage. It’s made even better with the sweetness of oranges and the crunch of fennel.

All in all, a meal simple enough to make on a weeknight, but elegant enough to serve to guests.

Pork Chops with Orange & Fennel Salad (source)

3 navel oranges
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt, divided
4, 4-ounce boneless pork chops, ½ inch thick, trimmed
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, roughly chopped or coarsely ground in a spice grinder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
1 shallot, chopped
3 cups watercress or arugula, tough stems removed

Remove the skin and white pith from oranges with a sharp knife. Working over a bowl, cut the segments from their surrounding membranes. Squeeze juice in the bowl before discarding membranes. Transfer the segments with a slotted spoon to another bowl. Whisk lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt into the bowl with the orange juice. Set aside.

Season pork chops on both sides with fennel seeds, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chops and cook until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add sliced fennel and shallot to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add watercress (or arugula) and cook, stirring, until it begins to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in the reserved orange segments, then transfer the contents of the pan to a platter.

Add the reserved orange juice mixture and any accumulated juices from the pork chops to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Serve the pork chops on the fennel salad, drizzled with the pan sauce.

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