In the world of confections, it’s a known fact that combining salty and sweet results in some of the most irresistible treats—think chocolate covered pretzels or sea salt caramels. But that flavor magic isn’t just for desserts: the dinner plate is an excellent place to bring those two worlds together, too.
Among meats, pork takes to sweet flavors the most easily thanks to its mild taste backed up by a bit of fattiness for depth. It’s a natural match for pairing with fruit, especially juicy summer produce like berries and stone fruits.
So at this time of year, when the dinner mood shifts toward quicker, lighter recipes that require minimal cooking, simply-prepared pork chops with seasonal fruit are one of the most exciting ways you can keep things simple.
To start, any pork chops will do, although bone-in chops are especially nice since the bone and surrounding fat offers some insurance against dryness and overcooking. Then, you’ll want to season them generously all over with salt and pepper. Since it’s the time of year for grilling, cooking them over a direct flame before moving them to a cooler spot to finish is always a great option. But you can absolutely use a cast iron or other heavy pan on the stove, too.
As for the fruit, you can simply chop it up fresh and toss it in a light vinaigrette. But cooked fruit is extra luxurious since it has that jammy, concentrated flavor and texture. You can halve larger fruits like peaches and plums and sear them on the grill, or simmer berries down on the stovetop into a saucy consistency with some sugar, vinegar, and a few splashes of water.
Give it a try with one of these combinations that barely need a recipe. Serve them with some crusty bread for sopping up, and a light, breezy wine to help you savor everything.
Fruit Toppings For Pork Chops
PEACHES & HOT PEPPERS
Toss together sliced peaches, sliced serrano or jalapeño peppers, sliced cucumbers, halved grape tomatoes, and chopped cilantro. Dress with white wine vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.
BLUEBERRIES & BALSAMIC
Place a large handful or two of blueberries in a small pan with a few spoonfuls of sugar, a large splash of balsamic vinegar, and enough water to barely cover the fruit. Bring to a simmer, then let reduce to a saucy consistency and season with salt.
CHERRIES & ReD WINE
Sauté a finely minced shallot in a small pan, then toss in a couple handfuls pitted cherries, a sprig of thyme or rosemary, and a few glugs of pinot noir or another juicy red wine. Simmer until cherries are soft, then season with salt and pepper.
After cooking your pork chops in a pan, set them aside to rest. Put sliced plums in the same pan and sauté, flipping occasionally, until gently browned. Season well with salt and pepper.