Native breed pork, peppers, and anchovy are a combination of ingredients and flavours that agree with each other. A dish inspired by the cuisine of that remarkable cultural and gastronomic enclave that sits part in Spain and part in France — the Basque country.
Take care with the peppers, ensuring that they are given the flavour to properly compliment the pork. They need to be well sourced, roasted with an attentive eye, peeled, and then marinated in good things and lots of them. They offer a perfect counterpoint to the flavour and fat of the chop. Anchovies provide a salty punch, and the shoestring fries an element of fun and crunchy satisfaction.
For me, a dish that offers you everything you need, with a pork chop of the finest provenance at the centre. What more could you want?
Thick-cut pork chops, marinated peppers, shoestring fries & anchovies
2 large floury potatoes, peeled
6 anchovy fillets
- For the peppers
5 large red peppers
2 large yellow peppers
extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Moscatel vinegar (or similar good quality vinegar)
4 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves picked from the stalks
zest of 1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp capers
- Start with the peppers:
- Preheat your oven to 200°C.
- Wash the peppers and then lay them in a tray, season generously with salt and olive oil. Give them a rub to ensure they are all coated in the oil and salt. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and turn the peppers over. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove the peppers from the oven, douse with a little Moscatel vinegar, and then cover with cling film or a tight-fitting lid. The peppers will steam with their residual heat to finish their cooking.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the sliced garlic to a small pan and show to a very low heat. Cook gently to the point where the garlic begins to go translucent.
- Once the peppers have cooled, begin to peel them. With any luck, the skin will come away from the flesh with ease. Once peeled, dunk the pepper briefly in water to wash away the seeds and any remaining skin. Retain any liquid from the cooking of the peppers.
- Place the peeled peppers in a bowl and add the tempered garlic and its oil, along with the oregano, capers, lemon zest, and Moscatel vinegar.
- Pass the pepper liquid through a sieve and pour it over the peppers.
- Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- Leave them to sit for half an hour and then taste again and re-adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- For the fries:
- You will need a mandolin, with a ‘julienne’ attachment to make these.
- Cut the potatoes on the mandolin and then wash in hot water, to wash away the starch. Once the water is running clean, take the potatoes and place them in a bowl of cold water. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- To cook the chop:
- Make several incisions, approximately an inch apart, in the rind of the chop, being careful not to cut too deep into the fat. This will stop the rind from tensing up when cooked and warping the shape of the chop.
- Season the chop well with sea salt.
- Take a frying pan or cast-iron skillet and set over a low heat. Place the chops in the pan, rind side down, and allow to cook for about 10 minutes like this. Move them around so that all of the rind spends some time in contact with the pan, with the aim of rendering the fat and crisping up the skin.
- Once the rind has crackled evenly, turn the heat up to high and lay the chops on their side. Cook for 90 seconds on the high heat and then flip the chops and cook for a further 90 seconds.
- Then flip the chops every 30 seconds for another two minutes, reducing the heat if it has become too fierce.
- Remove from the pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat your deep fryer to 190°C.
- You don’t want to throw a load of wet potato into hot oil! So let the fries drain completely of any water — you can lay them on a dry tea towel to be sure. Fry in the fryer for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and season well with salt.
- Serve the chop with warmed peppers and lay the anchovy fillets over the top.