Gourmet (June 2008)
We're not quite sure what just happened. One minute it was a lovely warm late spring in our nation's capital. The next minute, we found ourselves staring down triple-digit temperatures. Time to fire up the grill!
We absolutely love grilling in the summer. When we moved into an apartment with a little outdoor space a couple years ago, we bought a grill before we were even unpacked.
Summer grilling's great -- it's simple, full-flavored food that doesn't heat up your kitchen. And we're always on the lookout for recipes, like this one, that take a simple grilling standard and give it a twist.
This is a terrific way to dress up a grilled pork chop -- the peanut sauce is smooth and nutty with a great spicy kick. It would be delicious on grilled chicken or shrimp as well -- maybe even duck, if you're feeling adventurous. Or you could thin it a little and serve it with noodles and tofu for a yummy Pad Thai.
The simplicity of this dish is evident in the very first step of the recipe: "Purée all ingredients except pork in a blender." As we've mentioned before, we don't currently own a blender, but we just dumped all the ingredients in a food processor and let 'er rip. Then you just heat the sauce and serve it with the grilled pork.
Doesn't get any easier than that!
One word of caution -- we found the saté sauce, made to the specifications below, to be extremely spicy. Depending on your spice tolerance, you may want to start with smaller quantities of the red-chili paste and add slowly until you get a heat that works for you. In our case, we started with the full amount and then mellowed out the sauce by adding more coconut milk and peanuts.
By the way: If you don't own a grill, check out the Cook's Note at the end of the recipe for an indoor-cooking method.
Grilled Pork Chops with Saté Sauce
(This photo: Gourmet)
* 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
* 1/3 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
* 2 Tbsp water
* 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp roasted red-chile paste or red-curry paste (preferably Thai Kitchen)
* 1 1/2 Tbsp Asian fish sauce
* 1 Tbsp chopped shallot
* 2 tsp cider vinegar
* 1 tsp sugar
* 4 thin (1/3-inch) bone-in pork chops (1 1/2 lb total)
Garnish: sliced cucumber; chopped peanuts; lime wedges
1. Purée all ingredients except pork in a blender. Transfer to a small heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring, over medium-low heat. Thin sauce if desired with 1 to 2 Tbsp water.
2. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas).
3. Pat pork dry, then sprinkle all over with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
4. Oil grill rack, then grill pork, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Serve with sauce.
Cooks' note: Pork can be grilled in a hot lightly oiled large (2-burner) ridged grill pan over medium-high heat, 5 to 7 minutes.