Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Pork Chops With Peaches

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Serves 4

Instead of discarding leftover champagne, use it to make vinegar: Pour the champagne into wide mouthed jars, and leave the jars open; after a few weeks, the resulting vinegar can be used to make vinaigrette. Champagne vinegar can be stored, covered, for up to six months at room temperature. White wine vinegar usually works well as a substitute. Sometimes you may add a touch of orange or tangerine or Meyer lemon juice or even sherry vinegar as champagne vinegar seems sweeter than white wine vinegar. For some recipes, a very high quality cider vinegar (organic, unpasteurized, smelling of applies) can be substituted.

Ingredients

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 sprig sage

4 center-cut pork chops, about 4 ounces each

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 peach

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

Directions

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Separate the leaves from the sprig of sage, coarsely chop, and add to the skillet to infuse the oil and butter for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, remove and discard the bone from the pork chops. Adjust the flavors with salt and pepper, and add to the skillet. Sear until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, slice the peach in half, and remove and discard the pit. Slice into wedges, and set aside. Remove the pork chops and sage from the skillet, and set aside. Add the peach wedges to the skillet, and sprinkle with the sugar. Cool, stirring to coat, until the peach wedges are tender, they begin to caramelize, and a syrupy sauce forms, about 4 to 5 minutes. Deglaze with the champagne vinegar, and cook until it starts to evaporate. Remove the peach wedges from the skillet, and keep warm. Return the pork chops and sage to the skillet, and flavor with salt and pepper. Stir in 3 tablespoons of water, and cook for another 8 minutes, or until the pork chops are completely cooked but not too hard on the surface to the touch, while the sauce has thickened.

To serve, arrange the pork chops and sage on the platter. Top with caramelized peach wedges, and drizzle with the syrupy pan juices. Finish with a grinding of black pepper.

Tips on vinegar

Wine is transformed into vinegar through bacterial activity. When wine is allowed to sour, it turns into acetic acid, which is a very weak acid.

Unlike cider vinegar or distilled vinegar, champagne vinegar and white wine vinegar are only lightly sour, which make them easy to cook with. White wine vinegar is a bit stronger than champagne vinegar, but the two can be easily substituted for each other. Champagne vinegar and white wine vinegar are favorites for vinaigrettes and marinades. They may also be used to enhance sauces. Both vinegars pair especially well with seafood. Unlike wine, champagne is double fermented, which gives it its fizzy character. Thus, champagne vinegar is lighter and fizzier than white wine vinegar. You can make champagne vinegar or white vinegar at home by storing leftover champagne or white wine in an open, wide-mouthed container for several weeks. Some cooks cover it with a permeable fabric, such as muslin. The wine or champagne will be converted to vinegar.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog

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