Back in Northern California where Mike Salamunovich grew up, his birthday dinner was always his favorite food: pork chops. So no surprise that when we asked Salamunovich, now the sous chef at The Bay Leaf in Traverse City, to develop a recipe for us he composed the ode de porc below. Salamunovich sources his pork locally—as he does nearly everything else in this recipe. “I’m happy about the emphasis on local food and supporting the local economy in this town,” Salamunovich says. “I was stoked when I moved here.”
This recipe was first featured in the March 2012 "Best Eats" issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. Get your copy here for more foodie finds!
1 delicata squash, seeded, peeled and cubed 10 brussels sprouts, halved
2 shallots, julienned
5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved (green vein removed)
2 bay leaves
1 sprig plucked fresh thyme
Cooking oil of choice
2 thick-cut pork chops
Fresh ground pepper
¼ cup raw cashews, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon dried cherries
Splash of brandy
1 tablespoon butter Extra virgin olive oil, optional
Extra virgin olive oil, optional Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine squash, brussels sprouts, shallots, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in a bowl. Drizzle vegetables with cooking oil, and lightly toss to coat. Place vegetables on a baking sheet, leaving space for them to caramelize. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, flipping vegetables every 5-8 minutes.
Preheat cooking oil in a pan on medium-high heat over the stove. Season pork chops with salt and black pepper to taste. Place chops in pan (should be hot enough to make chops sizzle). Cook each side twice for 2 to 3 minutes, for a total of 8 to 12 minutes. Pull chops out of pan and let rest.
In same pan, reduce heat to medium-low and add cashews and dried cherries. Toast until crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes, tossing often. Deglaze pan with brandy and butter, and reduce for 1 minute.
Plate pork chops over the vegetables, and top with cashews and cherries. Optional: if you have a nice extra virgin olive oil, drizzle lightly over finished dish. Enjoy!