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Pork Chops With Date Butter Sauce

Time 30 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling
Yields Serves 4
The sweetness of pork chops is accentuated with dates here, mixed with butter, herbs and almonds into a flavorful pan sauce.
(Rebecca Peloquin/For The Times)
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It’s safe to say sweet goes with sweet here, where dates and pork chops accentuate each other’s natural sweetness. Chopped dates, almonds, shallots and herbs get swirled together for a quick pan sauce that’s buttery, really nutty, crunchy and speckled with herbs. If you can find them, the drier, firmer Deglet Noor date holds up better than the soft Medjool date.

1

At least 2 hours in advance (or, preferably, 1 day), season the pork chops with the kosher salt. Place on a plate or baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to use. Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan to cook them.

2

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the pork chops, bone sides facing inward, and apply pressure on the chops with your tongs or spatula so they sear evenly in the pan. Cook, undisturbed, until well browned on the bottom, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip and cook until golden on the other side and an instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork chops to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let rest.

3

If you have lots of fat left in the pan, pour off the fat from the skillet, leaving 1 tablespoon in the pan; otherwise, leave the fat in the pan and return it to low heat. Add the butter and shallots to the skillet, and once butter is mostly melted, begin adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time, swirling the skillet after each addition until combined; this ensures the sauce stays creamy and emulsified. After all the water is added, fold in the almonds, dates, parsley and oregano and remove the skillet from the heat. If the sauce seems a little thick, add another 1 tablespoon cold water. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

4

Slice the pork chops to a thickness you like and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle flaky salt over the pork, then spoon the date-butter sauce over the top and add more freshly ground black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.