Snow has been silently covering the London streets today giving Smithfield market something of a Dickensian feel. The current cold snap has brought on the desire for something decidedly meaty and where better to get it than Smithfield, home of the city’s main meat market for centuries? A trip to the last butcher still open at midday snagged two free range pork chops and four plump quail.
Dinner was based around the pork – with something that tasty you don’t want to mess around much. Just a squeeze of lemon juice and some black pepper. And then a simple accompaniment of roast cherry tomatoes and lightly fried courgettes with lemon and black pepper.
The lemon provides a citrusy thread that runs through the meal, pulling together the constituent ingredients with a common background zing.
Not much in the way of an ingredient list here – pork chops (always free range, the farmed ones have no flavour), half a lemon, olive oil, garlic, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, black pepper.
Roast the cherry tomatoes for 30-45 minutes at 200oC. While they are cooking, heat a griddle pan, or frying pan if you don’t have a griddle. Brush the chops with oil and season with black pepper and add them to the pan when it’s smoking hot. Leave for 6-7 minutes without moving, squeeze over some lemon juice, grind some pepper and turn, leaving them alone for another 6-7 minutes to get those lovely caramelised black stripes.
While the chops are cooking slice the courgettes into 1cm (1/3 inch) slices, slice a garlic clove finally and heat two glugs of oil in a pan. Add the garlic, then the courgette slices, grind over some more pepper and squeeze over some lemon juice. After about five minutes or so, when the slices are browning nicely, flip and cook for another five minutes.
Assemble the veggies and the chops and enjoy the mix of meaty pork, sweet tomatoes, sharp citrusy-smooth courgettes. Perfect for a winter’s night.