Porchetta Pork Chops
Have you had porchetta before? If you haven’t, find some fast. One of the first times I ever had it was from a stand at the Brooklyn Flea aptly named Porchetta. Essentially it is a fatty, boneless pork loin that is stuffed with salt, fennel seeds, rosemary, garlic and other herbs before it is roasted over a wood-flame. Heaven!

Obviously we all can’t make porchetta ourselves at home, but fortunately Melissa Clark at the Dining Section of The New York Times created this super easy, at-home recipe. The first time I made it I was shocked at how much it tastes like its namesake. (Note: Clark’s recipes is for 2 servings, but simply double the ingredients to serve 4.)

Fennel with Shallots and White Wine
To compliment the fennel of the porchetta pork chops, I thought I’d share this braised fennel recipe from The Wine and Food Lover’s Diet cookbook. I know that I’ve been using a lot of fennel these days, but it is a great winter-ish vegetable. Don’t worry, the days of asparagus and peas are just around the corner!

2 large fennel bulbs
2 TB. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ ts. lemon juice
salt and pepper

Cut off the stems from each fennel bulb and if the outer layer is tough, remove it or trim it. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and remove the core if it is tough. Cut each half lengthwise into 2 or 3 wedges.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the fennel and toss well to combine with the shallot and garlic. Pour in the wine and lemon juice and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the fennel is tender when pierced with a thin, sharp knife, about 15 minutes.

Uncover and cook until the liquid has reduced slightly and the fennel is beginning to caramelize and brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adjust with salt and pepper, and serve hot.