Sunday, August 26

Old Spot Pork Chop Saltimbocca, Smoked Keen's Cheddar, Chive & Garlic Butter Crumb

Ok, this isn't the most authentic Saltimbocca....I got a bit carried away adding extras.  Saltimbocca means 'jump in the mouth' in Italian as the flavours of sage and Parma ham are really punchy. Traditionally made with veal escalope, I have used a couple of really good rare breed pork chops and added some Somerset smoked cheese, a breadcrumb crust and a garlic and mildly onion flavoured butter.  In my opinion these additions to the original can only be a good thing. For two:

Quality pork chops - 2 large ones about an inch thick, chine bone removed, rib bone left in (ask your butcher)
Keen's smoked cheddar - 100g
Parma Ham - 4 slices
Sage Leaves - 8
Rough breadcrumbs from a stale but good quality loaf e.g. sourdough - 1 large handful
Unsalted butter - 50g
A fat clove of garlic - peeled
Chives - 1 small pack, finely chopped
Olive oil - 1 tbsp

Depending on your preference for fat, trim the skin and some of the fat from the edge of the chops. On the worktop, bash out the 'eye' of the meat until it is half as thick as it was. Insert a knife into the bottom of the chop and cut a pocket in the meat into which the stuffing will go.

Slice the cheese into two wedges, top with sage and wrap in the Parma ham. Stuff this into the pocket in the meat, you want to push it in as deep as possible to minimise cheese leakage during cooking.

Grind the garlic to a puree on the chopping board with a good pinch of salt and the flat of your knife. Add this with half the chives to the butter and mash together with a pinch of pepper. Season the chops well with salt and pepper then top each chop with 25% of the butter. Mix the breadcrumbs with the other half of the chives then top the pork with a good coating, pushing the crumb topping into the butter. 

Heat your oven to 210c and get a metal handled, non stick pan on a medium/high heat. Add a little olive oil to the frying pan and carefully place the chops in the pan (breadcrumbed side up). When the chops begin to fry, transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes until the chops are cooked through and the cheese is starting to bubble out. Flash under the grill to crisp and brown the breadcrumbs, then spoon the last of the butter onto of the chops so that it melts into the topping and serve. This is a pretty full-on dish, rich and powerfully flavoured so serve with some simply boiled new pots and some greens.

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