Fresh cherry season is from late May through August and many bakers and cooks like me are more than excited about it. Cherries are so versatile, even though many of us love to eat them straight from a bowl, you can create such an array of things like; sweet pies and tarts to savory compotes, and even salsa. When it comes to cherries, there are certain foods that go nicely with them – one of them being pork. Pork can be super lean, especially with the right cut, and it is definitely a food I love to eat. Some people have a thing for steaks, but mine is pork chops. There is something about the meaty taste that sets this protein above the rest, and pork chops are so easy to cook, especially on the grill.
In this recipe, I created a cherry salsa with fresh cherries, fennel, scallions and a little jalapeno. In full disclosure, this salsa does have a little heat, but that’s what makes it so good. As for the chops, a little dry rub and you are off to the grilling races. I think these chops are great served any day of the week, and the salsa will save for a few days to enjoy with tortilla chips or spooned over seafood.
4-6 1 1/2 inch thick pork chops, bone-in
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries
1/4 fennel bulb, diced
2 scallions, sliced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt & pepper
1. Wash, pit and rough chop cherries, set aside. Slice and dice all vegetables for salsa. In a bowl, add cherries, fennel, scallions, jalapeno, cilantro, and juice of 1 lemon, stir. Add salt and pepper and stir.
2. Heat grill to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, cumin and coriander, stir. Sprinkle both sides of chops with dry rub.
3. Place chops on grill and cook 8 minutes, flip and cook over side 8 minutes. Remove and let rest for 4 minutes, covered with foil.
4. Serve each chop with a large spoonful of salsa, or maybe two. Enjoy!