Take one thick pork chop on the bone, a bottle of Zinfandel, some red miso and the right album on the stereo, and you too can have a sophisticated dinner. The night was Saturday and I had decided to cook "Pork Cutlet with Miso-Red Wine Sauce" from Mark Bittman's The Minimalist Cooks Dinner. Bittman speaks of this recipe's taste belying the effort involved and I have to concur, although I made it more effortful than Bittman does.
The issue was searing the pork chop in a hot skillet for four or five minutes on one side, then three or four minutes on the other side. Once I did this, there was still a healthy amount of pink in the middle of the chop, and I was hearing the word "trichinosis" muttering in my brain. So I put the chop on a baking tray and stuck it in the oven so I could finish it by baking. It eventually worked.
The sauce itself is comprised of a cup of red wine and two tablespoons of red miso (or akamiso). Once the pork chop is removed from the skillet, one adds the wine and cooks it down by half. Then one turns the heat to low and adds the miso, mixing it in well. I reserved some wine to mix with the miso beforehand, so I could add a miso-wine paste to the skillet (rather than two tablespoon-sized miso lumps, which can be time-consuming to mix in). I used Ravenswood's Vintner's Blend Zinfandel, which has been one of my favorite wines of late.
It was a great pork chop smothered in a great sauce. Enough sauce was left over that I was able to serve the rest over spaghettini last night and enjoy something that really was ridiculously easy and ridiculously good. On Saturday night, I paired it with Bittman's "Green Salad with Soy Vinaigrette." The salad dressing was quite hot, even though I thought the amount of cayenne called for was minimal (not that I'm complaining).
As for the album, it was Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane. Now that is some seriously sophisticated music, the perfect garnish for a great meal.