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Pork Involtini with Nectarines and Sage

involtiniO.jpg

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 thick boneless center-cut pork chops, about 1” ( 8 if you are using thin pork chops about 1/2” thick or thinly sliced pork tenderloin)

extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 lemons, cut into wedges

kitchen twine

1 cup of dry white wine, or chicken stock or a mixture of both for sauce

unsalted butter 

sea salt and freshly grated black pepper

sage and nectarine stuffing or stuffing of your choice.

Method:

First prepare the stuffing and allow to cool.  You can refrigerate the stuffing overnight and it will taste even better. It refrigerated, bring to room temperature. 

Slice the thick cut pork chops in 1/2 lengthwise and place each one between 2 layers of plastic wrap or in a zip lock bag, and gently pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until uniformly 1/4” thick and roughly rectangular in shape.  Lightly brush the pork with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Gently spread about a 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the stuffing over the surface of the meat.  Leave a perimeter of 1/4 inch around the edge of the pork open.  Roll up the pork and secure with pieces of kitchen twine about an inch apart.  You can also secure the involtini with tooth picks. 

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in large fry or sauté pan over medium-high heat until it is shimmering.   Add the involtini, but do not over crowd, and cook them until they are seared, golden brown, and crisp on the outside, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Place the pan in the preheated oven to finish cooking the involtini.  The timing will vary according to the size of the involtini, but probably about 7 or 8 minutes.  (I generally cook pork to an internal temperature of 145ºF and let it rest for several minutes. At this temperature, the pork should be a nice medium rare.  See here for example). Remove the string and serve immediately on a warm plate with lemon wedges, asparagus parmesan, or virtually any vegetable or salad that you like.

If you want to make a quick sauce, after you remove the involtini from the pan, deglaze the pan with 1 cup of dry white wine (you can substitute chicken stock or use both) and stir to remove any brown bits and stuffing from the bottom the pan.  Bring the wine to a simmer and stir for several minutes to reduce slightly and burn off some of the alcohol. Add a tablespoon of butter and swirl in the pan. (If you want a thicker sauce add a small amount of beurre manie). Season to taste with salt and pepper.  You can strain the sauce if you prefer, or simply pour it over the involtini directly from the pan.

You can also grill the involtini.  I usually grill them for about 7 or 8 minutes over a preheated gas grill on direct high heat.  But, again, the time will vary depending on the grill you are using, as well as a number of other variables.  A good summary of how to deal with the issue of timing can be found in Grill Italian by Clifford A. Wright.  He has a short note in the book which reads as follows: “Let your senses be your guide. The cooking times in the recipes should be used with caution because fires differ so dramatically in heat, depending on many factors, such as the size of the grill, whether the hood is up or down, how many coals you are using, and how cold it is outside.  It is best to use the times as guides, always resting your final judgment about doneness on the look touch, and smell of the food.”  The book has a number of great grilling recipes, including several for various types of involtini.

 Enjoy.