Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures
Two years ago, I spent a week on the island of Kalymnos in the east end of the Greek Isles, in a cluster of land masses known as the Dodecanese, within spitting distance of Turkey. A mecca for rock climbers, the island is the real deal, with none of the glitz and bling of its more famous cousins, like Mykonos. Tiny little taverns with octopus coming straight off the coal fire, hillside goat herders selling cheeses and yogurt, sponge divers still working the outer islands. These are all enduring images in my head. But another burns brighter than the rest. One night before a shoot we were doing at a local home, several well-lubricated friends of the host made grilled pork and eggplant salad for the crew and me. It was one of the best meals of the trip; I still remember the smell of whole bunches of wild thyme, sage and rosemary being burned under the meat to flavor it. I re-create that meal whenever I can. Try it if you find yourself with lots of herbs around the house.—Andrew Zimmern
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped oregano
1/4 cup chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped
3 pounds bone-in pork rib chops, cut 1/2 inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
4 scallions, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large tomatoes—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons brined capers—drained, rinsed and patted dry
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for grilling
Grilled bread, for serving
How to Make It
Step 1 Prepare the Pork
In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, tarragon and thyme. Arrange the pork chops in a large baking dish and pour the marinade on top; turn to coat each chop thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Step 2 Make the Salad
Preheat the broiler. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork. Set them on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Broil 6 inches from the heat, turning the eggplants every 5 minutes, until very soft and lightly charred, about 25 minutes. Let cool. Peel the eggplants and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice. Transfer to a colander set in a large bowl and let drain until completely cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
Step 3 Make the Salad
In a food processor, pulse the parsley, scallions, oregano and garlic until finely chopped. Fold the mixture into the eggplant. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and toss well. Fold in the tomatoes and capers and season with salt and pepper.
Step 4 Make the Salad
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Scrape the marinade off the pork. Season the chops with salt and pepper. Brush the grill grates with vegetable oil and grill the pork chops over moderately high heat until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes. Serve the pork with the eggplant salad and grilled bread.
The eggplant salad can be refrigerated overnight.
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