Plums, apricots or pluots -- a smooth-skinned, sweet hybrid of the two that is our personal favorite -- bring a seasonal burst of flavor to grilled pork chops. The salsa has just enough pungent sage and jalapeno chili pepper -- seeded or not, depending on how fiery you're feeling -- to keep it honest. If preparing the salsa more than an hour in advance, hold off adding the lemon juice, because it will break down the fruit. Serve with whipped sweet potatoes and collard greens.
- 3 plums (may substitute apricots or pluots), halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- 1/4 small red onion, halved lengthwise and cut into long, thin strips
- 1/2 to 1 red jalapeño chile pepper, diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sage
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 4 (20 ounces) rib pork chops or loin pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
In a medium bowl, add the plums, onion, jalapeno chili pepper and sage and stir to combine. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, start the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area for direct heat. Oil the grate. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper to taste and grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on their thickness. Turn and grill for 3 minutes or until cooked through.
To serve, place a pork chop on each plate and top with some salsa. Pass remaining salsa at the table.
Adapted from "Harry's Roadhouse Cookbook," by Harry Shapiro and Peyton Young (Gibbs Smith, $24.95).
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
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