Grilled Pork Chops with Gremolata Butter

Serves 4

Entertaining? Keep things stress-free by making the gremolata butter up to one day in advance.

4 (6 to 8-ounce) Grateful Growers Farm pork chops, about 1-inch thick
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
Zest from one orange
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
16 fresh sage leaves, optional

Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator thirty minutes before you plan to grill them. Allow the pork chops to come to room temperature.

In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter, parsley, garlic and orange zest. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside. Note: Make the gremolata butter up to one day in advance and refrigerate.

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If desired, press two sage leaves onto each side of the pork chops. The sage not only adds a decorative touch, but will infuse the pork with its distinct aroma as you grill it.

Grill the pork chops for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until desired doneness (USDA recommends cooking to at least 145 degrees F). When you are almost ready to remove the pork chops from the grill, place a spoonful of the gremolata butter atop each one allowing it to just start to melt.

Remove the pork chops from the grill (be careful not to spill the butter!) and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Caprese Salad

Summer tomatoes don’t require a lot of embellishment and I like mine paired with locally-made Uno Alla Volto mozzarella and lots of basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a classic side dish sure to make everyone happy.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

It doesn’t get more simple or more delicious than roasted vegetables. In the summer, I like to roast fingerling potatoes for an easy and flavorful side dish that goes with just about everything. To prepare, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Slice the fingerling potatoes in half lengthwise and toss with just enough olive oil to lightly coat all the potatoes. Season generously with salt and, if you have some on hand, throw in some fresh rosemary sprigs. Roast for 30 minutes, turning potatoes at the halfway point, or until golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork.

Where to Shop:

When it comes to buying vegetables and herbs there is no better shopping experience than the bustling Charlotte Regional Farmers Market (1801 Yorkmont Road, 28217) on a Saturday morning. It’s open six days a week (closed on Mondays), but Saturday is its biggest day with an assortment of vendors and tables upon tables of beautiful produce. To be fair, this is a one stop shop as you can also find Grateful Growers Farm pork products here and Uno Alla Volto mozzarella, but I think it’s worth separate trips to the stores mentioned below.

Pork chops from the Denver, NC Grateful Growers Farm may be purchased at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, Reid’s Fine Foods or Catch On Seafood. My preference is the locally-owned Catch On Seafood (826 Hawthorne Lane, 28204). The staff doesn’t get any friendlier and who can pass up the opportunity to buy products from North Carolina land and sea at the same time. Plus, Catch On Seafood sells a great selection of locally made prepared foods.

Uno Alla Volto mozzarella can be found at locally-owned Orrman’s Cheese Shop (224 East 7th Street, 28202) at the 7th Street Market in uptown Charlotte. This tiny gem owned by Rachel Klebauer is one of my favorite shops for all things cheese!

Olive oil stores are fairly common in Charlotte these days, but I visit Pour Olive (1528 East Blvd, 28203) in Dilworth for my oil and vinegar needs.

Can’t stand the thought of sprinkling this delicious salad with table salt and pre-ground black pepper? Find the best assortment of spices and fine salt and pepper at Savory Spice Shop (2000 South Blvd #520, 28203) in Southend. Owners Amy and Scott MacCabe know their seasonings and I love the fact that you can purchase freshly ground spices in small sizes.