The first culinary fade I can personally remember, was the “blackened” craze of the early eighties. Led by Paul Prudhomme, one of the country’s first “celebrity” Chefs, it seemed like everyone was coating every thing in Cajun spices and cooking it in white-hot cast iron pans until black. Now, this was a really delicious method IF done correctly, at very high heat, in a professional kitchen (which has powerful exhaust fans to remove the cloud of smoke that’s invariably produced).
The problem was that everyone was trying to do blackened fish, pork, chicken, and steak at home and the results varied greatly. The smart home cooks did this outside on the BBQ and made out OK. Many however tried to simulate this “looks great on TV” dish in the kitchen and the sounds of smoke alarms rang out across the land. If fact, I have a conspiracy theory that Chef Prudhomme was “on the take” from the Smoke Alarm companies. Of course, I can’t prove any of this.
This Chili-Rubbed Pork Chop video recipe is a kinder, gentler version of the “blackened” cooking technique. We start on high heat, but cook the chops on medium, and then finish the cooking by wrapping the chops in foil. This produces a very moist chop, as the meat has time to “rest” as it finishes cooking. Also, when you unwrap the boneless chops, there will be several tablespoons of the most wonderful natural juice (or Jus for our French friends). Almost any spice mix will work with this technique so take this method and make it your own. It was a great combination with the Sweet Corn, Shiitake Mushroom and Arugula Sauté recipe we already posted. Enjoy!
2 boneless center-cut pork chops (about 7oz each, about 1 1/2 inch thick)
1 1/2 tbl vegetable oil
salt to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp all spice
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ancho chili powder
cayenne to taste (optional)