Recipe: Veal chops with red pepper-pomegranate salsa

08 January 2016
Recipe: Veal chops with red pepper-pomegranate salsa

We get veal only three or so times a year, and because the supply is limited, it's on the menu for just four or five days at a stretch. The meat is so creamy and delicate, you don't want to do too much to it. We season it with salt and allspice, which is one of the most important ingredients at Hartwood. Called pimiento de Tabasco in the markets, the allspice berries we get are a little more peppercorn-like than what you find in the United States.

Our pomegranates come from Campeche, where the trees grow wild. The seeds give a fruity burst to the dish. The salsa recipe makes more than you will need for this dish. It keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week and is good with any grilled meat, especially steak.

Serves 6

  • 340g veal rib chops
  • 60ml roasted onion oil
    (recipe follows)
  • 1Ž4tsp allspice berries, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant and ground
  • Kosher salt
  • 2tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper-pomegranate salsa
    (recipe follows)
  • Baby greens, chick pea sprouts and slivered chayote for garnish
  • Bee pollen for garnish (optional)

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat.

Put the veal chops in a bowl, drizzle with the roasted onion oil, and season with the allspice and salt to taste.

Smear some of the salsa over each plate and top with the chops.

Top with the greens. Sprinkle with the bee pollen, if using. Garnish with strips of chayote.

Red pepper-pomegranate salsa

Makes 3 cups (720ml)

  • 1 red pepper
  • 150g pomegranate seeds
  • 55g sugar
  • 1Ž2tsp salt
  • 240ml white vinegar
  • 240ml water
  • Pinch of habanero powder

Roast the red pepper to remove skin and seeds and set aside.

Combine the pomegranate seeds, sugar, salt, vinegar, water, and habanero powder in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until reduced by two-thirds. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Put the mixture in a blender and blend on high until smooth, for 30 to 45 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and refrigerate.

Roasted onion oil and burnt onions

You want to crowd the pan with the onions so that the exposed tops will unfurl and blacken in the oven. We use the onions in our grilled calamar salad, and you can always find some under our whole grilled fish.

At home, you would probably not roast a pan full of onions just to use a few to round out a dish, but if you keep some in a jar in the refrigerator, you'll have a shortcut to the kind of complexity you find on a restaurant menu. We drizzle the oil over grilled steaks, octopus, and vegetables.

Makes about 1 litre, plus burnt onions

  • 8 medium or 10 small white onions, quartered
  • 1 litre bottle of olive oil
  • 1Ž2tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 230ºC.

Put the onions in a deep, sturdy 10-inch pan and add enough olive oil so that just about half an inch of the tops of the onions is exposed. Season with the salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the tops of the onions are black; if necessary, turn on the grill for the last five minutes to char the onions. Let cool.

Strain the oil into a one-litre measuring cup and reserve the onions. Return the oil to its original bottle (simply pour through a funnel set into the neck of the bottle). Cover the oil and keep in a cool, dry place (it will last longer in the fridge; just take it out about an hour before cooking to liquefy). Keep the onions covered and refrigerated.

Recipe taken from Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry. Photography by Gentl & Hyers

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