The French island of Corsica is famous for its strongly flavored herbs, products of a hot sun, dry earth, and fresh sea air. Herbs play a major role in this Corsican-inspired dish of deeply caramelized pork chops. The recipe is based on my vivid memory of a sauté of pork that had been rubbed with herbs, smothered in a rich tomato sauce, and dotted with green olives, served as a “special” at a tiny Corsican restaurant in Paris, a few doors down from the Bohemian hotel where I stayed in my youth. The restaurant, Aux Deux Marches, on Rue Gît-le-Coeur, was part eatery, part grocery store, and, in true Corsican style, filled with pictures and busts of Napoleon Bonaparte. Dolores, the waitress, remarking on the dried shrubby Corsican herbs that gave the pork its delicious flavor, told me: “These herbs penetrate one's very being! I didn't say that—Napoleon did.”
In my recipes, I employ thyme, bay leaf, and sage in a novel way, adding them to a salty brine so their flavors infuse the dense lean meat prior to cooking. Brining is a great way to ensure that your pork chops stay moist and succulent.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.