Pork Chops with Fennel and Caper Sauce

I love Valentine’s Day. All of the beautiful flowers, red and pink colors everywhere, and the opportunity to wine and dine your favorite sweetheart always puts a smile on my face. There are some amazing restaurants in the Dallas area, unfortunately some of the best are always some of the most expensive.

Last year Matt and I decided to stay in for Valentines and create our own culinary atmosphere. We ended up making some amazing sirloins top with seared scallops and shrimp with roasted red potatoes and spinach on the side. I love cooking with my husband, it just makes the result that much more special.

Since we stayed in for Valentines and our Anniversary last year we didn’t have our usual special occasion night out at a swanky restaurant. So this year we’ve decided to reinstate the tradition and try Stephan Pyles in downtown Dallas! I’ve heard some amazing things about this restaurant and have always been a fan of Chef Pyles work. Needless to say, I’m very excited!! It will be a fixed menu this evening and I’m sure it will be delectable. Check back for my review later next week!

For the romantics that are dining in this evening and still need some ideas, I thought I would post one of my favorite romantic meals by Giada De Laurentiis. It is so simple and absolutely delicious! Give it a try with a side of mashed potatoes. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Pork Chops with Fennel and Caper Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 boneless (2-inch-thick) pork chops (about 2 pounds total)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning meat
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning meat
  • 2 fennel bulbs with fronds, thinly sliced (about 8 ounces or 2 cups)
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons capers

Directions

In a large, heavy skillet heat the olive oil over high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the pork to the pan and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes each side. Remove the pork from the pan, cover loosely with foil, and set aside.

Add the fennel, shallots, and 1/3 cup parsley to the pan and cook over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the pork back into the pan, nestling the chops between the fennel and tomatoes so they are mostly submerged in the pan juices. Cook until the fennel is tender and the pork is done, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Place the pork on a serving dish. To finish the sauce, add the lemon zest, remaining 1/3 cup parsley, capers, and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Spoon over the pork chops and serve immediately.

Norah Jones is one of my favorite artists and biggest inspirations. Not only is she an amazing songwriter and pianist, but her vocal tone is so crisp and uniquely hers. My girlfriend and I backpacked Europe in 2005 and on the way to Naples I was listening to her debut album, Come Away with Me. We were gone for a month and I was really missing Matt. When this song came on I just started crying and new at that moment he was the man I wanted to spend my life with. I ended up singing this to him at our wedding. It was a very special moment.

I would like to credit the beautiful picture above to Flickr’s Andrew Jalali’s photostream. Check out the photostream here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ac_jalali/224445041/

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