WWhen cooking, I like to use inactive time to my advantage. These two recipes illustrate this approach perfectly: while the pork chops absorb their spice mix, you can switch gears and chop the onion and radicchio that will be served alongside. Later, while the chops are resting, turn your attention to the sauce. With the shrimp dish, while the rice simmers, the chef has the freedom to prepare the tomato and kimchi mixture. Every minute of the recipe brings you one step closer to the goal, because at the end of the day all we really want to do is eat.
Pork Ribs with Salt and Sugar (pictured above)
A bit of sugar mixed into the salt helps these chops brown during their relatively short cooking time, and while they rest they render the wilted greens (which are actually red) in the drippings. It’s a foolproof combination that works: salty, savory, meaty, sweet and just a touch bitter. If you want to scale this up to make enough for four, there are a few ways to do that: Break out a second skillet and cook the chops in two pans at a time, then go back to one when it’s time is to wither the radicchio; or wipe out the pan, add another three tablespoons of oil, and cook the second batch of chops in the same pan before continuing with the veggies.
preparation 15 minutes
Cook 25 mins
1 tonsp sugar
450G 2½cm thick bone-in pork chops
1 head radicchio (340-400g)
1 small brown onion, peeled off
4Tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oiland more if needed
1 lemoncut in half
Flaky Saltto serve
Dijon mustardto serve
Mix salt and sugar in a small bowl. Using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or the heel of your hand, pound the pork chops until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Pat dry, then season all over with the salt and sugar mixture. Let the chops rest while you prepare the radicchio and onion.
Clean the radicchio and separate into individual leaves. Cut the leaves into irregular pieces of 7.5 cm to 10 cm. Thinly slice the onion crosswise, then divide into rings.
Place a large, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes. Pour in three tablespoons of oil (you need enough to thoroughly coat the surface, so add more if needed), then gently slide the pork chops into the pan. Press down to ensure the center of each chop is making good contact with the hot oil and pan and cook, turning every minute, for a total of five to six minutes, until very well browned and browned has some charred spots in the fattest parts. The flesh will still be a little pink – if you’d like it more done, add a minute or two to the cooking time. Place on a large plate to rest.
Carefully pour out the fat from the frying pan and wipe away any burnt matter. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion rings are soft and lightly browned, about four minutes. Add the radicchio in batches, tossing the leaves into the hot pan and allowing them to wilt before adding more, until all of the radicchio is in the pan. Season with salt and cook, tossing for three or four minutes, until the leaves are wilted and tender but the thickest part of the rib still has a little bite.
Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, toss again to combine, then tip the radicchio onto a platter and drizzle over some honey. Cut the chops against the grain, place on the leaves and drizzle with the remaining juice. Season with flaky salt and serve with the remaining half of the lemon and mustard to marinate the pork.
Herb rice with shrimp kimchi tomato sauce
Kimchi and butter complement each other like hot sauce and sour cream. The push-pull of spice, flavor and sweet richness is the foundation of this richly umami-y, sassy, bouncy and extremely easy dinner. The spicier your kimchi, the hotter the sauce will be—add a few squirts of hot sauce if you want to amp it up even more at the end.
preparation 15 minutes
Cook 25 mins
220g short grain white rice
150gr cabbage kimchi
90g unsalted butter
220g cherry tomatoesevery color
450gr large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 5 cm pieces
25G basil leavesthinly sliced
Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water for about a minute, until mostly clear. Drain, then place the rice and 310ml water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Once the liquid is simmering, turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed, about 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the kimchi. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foamy, then add the kimchi and any juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is simmering, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to wilt and their skins wrinkle, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently press the tomatoes with the back of a spoon to split them and release their juice, then simmer for another 3 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Add the shrimp to the sauce, reduce the heat and cook very gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just milky: don’t cook the shrimp – slow cooking will keep them tender and juicy. Taste the sauce and season with salt if needed (between the kimchi and the naturally salty shrimp, you may not need any additional seasoning).
Fluff up the rice with a fork, then carefully mix in the herbs. Serve the rice with the shrimp sauce spooned on top.
Recipes from That Sounds So Good: 100 Real-Life Recipes for Every Day of the Week, by Carla Lalli Music, published by Hardie Grant for £22. To order a copy for £19.14 go to guardianbookshop.com