For this dish I seasoned and grilled pork chops and made a pistachio dressing to put on top. This topping goes great with Lamb , Chicken and even Fish. Whatever meat you are eating, give this topping a try.
Pork has an interesting place in the Mediterranean diet. In the south of Europe, it is one of the premier meats in the diet. Yet in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa it is virtually non existent.
In Southern Europe (Spain to the Adriatic Sea), pork and beef are the two prime meats. Lamb is present, but not as much as the rest of the Mediterranean. Pork is used in cured meats, sausages, whole cuts, and roasts. Iberico Jamon and Prosciutto are two delicacies that are pork centric.
Geography plays a role in that pork is relatively easy to raise in the lands of the Southern Mediterranean. Religion also plays a significant role. Southern Europe is heavily Christian, primarily Catholic. The Catholic church has no food code restrictions on the consumption of pork.
In Eastern Europe and North Africa, the land is more amenable to raising sheep and goats. Additionally the region is heavily Muslim. Islamic dietary laws decree that pork is haram, or forbidden. Similarly, Jewish dietary law declare pork to be treif, also meaning forbidden.
The fresh herbs and the nutty flavor of the pistachio really complement each other well. They also pair nicely with the pork chops.
An Italian Primativo or Spanish Rioja would go nice here! Tuscan Kale with mushroom is a great side dish here too.
Below is a quick recipe for the topping . Use about a tablespoon of diced roasted red peppers if you don’t have piquillos. Hazelnuts or almond can work as stand ins for the pistachios if necessary.
Pistachio Topping for Pork, Chicken or Fish
- 2 TBS ground pistachios
- 2 TBS chopped parsley
- 1 TBS chopped chives
- 1 piquilllo pepper chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBS sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 4 pork chops
- Place the first nine ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- When the chops are done grilling, spoon the relish over the top and cover the pork chops to rest for five minutes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat
- Season the pork chop on both sides with salt and pepper
- Put a small amount of olive oil in your pan. When it begins to shimmer add the pork chops
- Allow the pork chops to cook untouched for about four minutes and then flip them. A nice golden crust should have formed on the cooked side of the pork chops
- Flip, and cook the other side until golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted in the chops reads between 135oF – 140oF (57oC – 60oC)
- Remove chops from heat and set on a plate to rest for 5 minutes
- Top with Pistachio Topping and Serve