Bruce Sherman uses dried lavender buds in this recipe; they are available at organic markets and specialty food shops, and by mail from Dean & DeLuca (800-221-7714). Make sure they are food grade, not treated with oils for potpourri. "When you strain out the lavender buds in the honey, press hard on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract the maximum amount of flavor," Sherman advises.
Plus: More Pork Recipes and Tips
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
3 whole cloves
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 firm, ripe peaches—4 peeled and halved, 2 peeled and finely chopped
4 ears of corn, husked
1 Vidalia onion, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 thick-cut slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon piment d'Espelette or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (see Note)
Four 12-ounce pork rib chops (1 inch thick)
1/3 cup Riesling
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small saucepan, combine the honey with the lavender and the whole cloves and cook over moderate heat, undisturbed, for 6 minutes. Remove the honey from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the sherry vinegar. Let the honey cool for 10 minutes, then strain the lavender-infused honey through a fine sieve into a small heatproof bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the saucepan along with the brown sugar and lemon juice and cook just until melted. Stir in half of the lavender-infused honey. Arrange the halved peaches in a small baking dish in a single layer and spoon the brown sugar mixture over them. Bake the peaches for 1 hour, turning once and basting every 10 minutes, until soft and lightly caramelized. Transfer the peaches to a plate and pour the pan juices into a heatproof cup.
Meanwhile, light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the ears of corn and the onion slices all over with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until charred and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut the corn kernels from the cobs and coarsely chop the onion.
In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until it is golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Add the corn and onion to the skillet and cook just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley, piment d'Espelette, the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar and the reserved bacon. Season the corn salad with salt and pepper and cover with foil to keep warm.
Brush the pork chops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer registers 138° when inserted near the bone, about 12 minutes. Transfer the chops to a plate and brush liberally with the remaining lavender-infused honey.
Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet until very hot. Add the finely chopped peaches and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Add the Riesling and cook until it is reduced by two-thirds, about 1 minute. Add the reserved peach pan juices and bring to a boil, then simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and season the peach sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon the corn salad onto plates and arrange the roasted peach halves alongside. Put the chops on the plates, spoon the peach sauce over the chops and serve.
Piment d'Espelette is a sweet and mildly spicy ground pepper native to the Basque country. It is available at specialty food shops, spice shops and by mail order from Piperade (415-391-2555 or piperade.com).
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