Cherry balsamic glazed pork chops with grilled zucchini and blistered tomatoes over a bed of pillowy herbed polenta. This delicious meal is bursting with flavor and ready in only 30 minutes!
Happy official first week of summer! Are you guys loving all of the fresh produce right now? I literally can’t stop buying every variety of berries and cherries. I have enough to feed a small village in my fridge right now. I’m going to have to start making them into jams because one cannot physically consume such a mass amount. Holler if you want a jar!Another current obsession is with cherry tomatoes. They’re SO incredibly sweet and juicy right now I eat them like candy. Literally, just pop them in my mouth like a handful of M&M’s. We all know the red M&M’s are the best anyway 😉
As delicious as they are on their own, please do your soul a favor and try BLISTERING them for even more rich decadence. A good char on vegetables really takes them to the next level of flavor and these tomatoes are no exception. I’ve been putting blistered tomatoes on pizza and in both pasta and omelets lately. Just incredible. Nature wins again. This balsamic glaze might be the simplest thing you’ve made all week. All you need is balsamic vinegar, honey and extra fresh basil to bath everything in. It coats the pork chops like a dream and thickens up beautifully as it simmers. The “cherry on top” (see what I did there) is adding those juicy cherries to the mix! I will literally top vanilla ice-cream with a cherry balsamic glaze – THAT’s how good this duo is.
As far as substitutes for pork chops, either chicken or salmon would be fantastic.This big beautiful mess of juicy pork chops and summer vegetables is piled on what might be the most comfy pillow of herbed polenta. For whatever reason, I’ve filed polenta under the “winter recipe” category in my brain and I truly cannot explain why. Maybe because of its usual creamy, hearty consistency and the fact that it typically includes loads of cheese and butter and that just equates to winter comfort food?? I mean, I’d still enjoy that during bikini season, but you catch my drift.
Anywho, I was determined to infuse this polenta with SUMMER. I still infused it with a little parmesan cheese because it is the *Italian* porridge, but adding loads of herbs definitely gave it more of a light, fresh taste.
Dinner. This week. 30 minutes. What do ya say??
- 1 lb pork loin chops, sliced thin
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp water
- 8-10 pitted cherries, halved
- ⅓ cup fresh basil
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 medium-sized zucchinis, sliced at a diagonal
- Pinch of sea salt and pepper
- **Herbed Polenta**
- 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup each freshly chopped basil and parsley
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- Begin preparing polenta by pouring the water and milk into a medium size saucepan and bringing to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Once the liquid is absorbed, stir in the parmesan cheese, garlic and herbs and season with salt and pepper. If the polenta seems a little thick you can add a tablespoon more of milk or water.
- While the polenta is cooking, begin preparing the pork. In a glass measuring cup mix together the balsamic vinegar, honey and water. Season pork with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Heat a very large skillet over high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the skillet is hot, add the pork in a single layer and allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes, so it can get nice and caramelized. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until the pork is browned and just getting crispy on the edges. Lower to medium heat and pour in the balsamic mixture, sliced cherries and basil. Allow to simmer until the sauce coats the pork, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Heat a separate skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat with 1 tbsp of olive oil and add zucchini. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and saute until soft and golden. Transfer to a plate and turn up to high heat. Add another tbsp of olive oil.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook the tomatoes without stirring for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes toss the tomatoes and cook another 1-2 minutes or until the tomatoes are blistered.
- To serve, divide the polenta among 4 plates or bowls. Top with one pork chop and a few cherries. Divide zucchini and blistered tomatoes evenly among plates. Top with additional balsamic sauce (from the pan) and garnish with additional herbs and/or parmesan. Eat!
Which summer produce item are you currently obsessing over?
Polenta: yay or nay??