Last night I returned to cooking basics. Simple pan sautéed pork chops with a Vermouth pan sauce. I have a Griswold cast iron pan that dates to between 1920 and 1940. It is smooth as silk and seasoned to perfection.
Start out with enough heat to cause a pat of butter to gently sizzle – about medium high. Add an equal amount of olive oil, enough of the two to coat the bottom of the pan. In my case it was a little over a tablespoon of each. Add pork chops patted dry and seasoned with salt, pepper and dried thyme.
Sauté until lightly golden on the first side. Depending on your stove this should take about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and sauté on the other side for a couple of minutes and then turn heat down to medium. Cook for another couple of minutes. This gives you nice crust but turning down the heat allows the meat to cook through. You should feel just a bit of softness in the middle. Remove chops from the pan and keep warm. Reduce the heat to low and add enough vermouth or white wine to deglaze the pan and viola, you have pan sauce. You want just enough to cover the chops.
For my veggies, I cubed a russet potato and with a paper towel, (this is key to nice brown potato cubes without frying) dried the cubes so the moisture from the potatoes is gone. Coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a sheet pan and cook in a 375˚ oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn potatoes. Add julienned yellow squash prepped like the potatoes. Cook another 10 to 15 minutes.
There you have it. Simple dinner in about 1/2 an hour.
One of my favorite things about cast iron is how it cleans. Never use soap and water. Once the pan is cool just rinse out with warm water. For stuck on bits, sprinkle a little salt directly into the pan while it is still just damp and wipe with a paper towel. Done!