This is a fall meal, right? I worked on my syllabus for my fall class today, and there were the first parsnips of the year at the market, so that’s where my brain was leaning.
First, I roasted some beets and then cooled them and peeled off their skins. This is a giant pain in the ass, so I tend to roast several meals worth of beets at one time and refrigerate the extras to use later.
Then I made a citrus-y vinaigrette:
- 1 chopped shallot
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 tsp olive oil
- a pinch of sugar
- salt & pepper
- a splash of orange juice
I tossed 2 sliced beets and some baby red lettuce with 1/2 the dressing and set them aside. I then scooped a good heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard into the remaining vinaigrette and rubbed the mixture all over the pork chop and let it sit for a while. Then I peeled and chopped 2 parsnips, 2 shallots, and 4 thin slices from a ginger root.
I heated a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat and threw in the parsnips, ginger, and shallots, tossing them frequently and letting them carmelize. I heated a grill pan very hot and grilled the pork chop for about 4 minutes on each side and then covered it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes. I crumbled a little Billy Blue goat cheese over the salad.
And then I ate it up.
I was raised on really great food. We got our meat from a butcher. We got our milk from the dairy. We grew our own vegetables, something that I’d maybe like to take up as an adult but I remember how much I dreaded and whined about weeding as a kid, so I’m in no hurry. My parents weren’t what I’d call adventurous cooks, but they cooked great ingredients very simply, and in summer we’d eat meat cooked on the grill, some rice or pasta or other starchy side dish, and whatever the garden yielded that week. They fed a family of five VERY well and very economically.
As an adult I am trying to experiment and vary my diet, but my definition of comfort food will almost always come back to this formula: A piece of meat, marinated in something and then grilled or roasted + something starchy on the side (like mmmmmmmm mac & cheeeeeeeeeese, but in tonight’s case, parsnips) + something green. In my belly.