4 1 1/2-inch-thick boneless pork loin chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 cup basil leaves, shredded or torn
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Season the chops with salt and pepper and let them come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the basil and vinegar and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO to the skillet and sear and caramelize the meat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the juices run clear and the meat is firm but not hard. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes.
Mound the macerated berries on top of the chops and serve.
RR says before the recipe: "When I worked at Macy's Marketplace in New York City years ago, we had a huge Italian import sale in honor of Columbus Day weekend. As part of the promotion, we handed out cookbooks entitled Columbus's Menu, given to us by the Italian Trade Commission. The book listed adaptations of recipes as old as Columbus sailing the ocean blue. One of my favorites was a roast pork loin with balsamic- and basil-macerated strawberries. Here's how you can make it in less than 30. Serve with salad and crusty bread."
I bet her version of roast pork loins was better than this. I liked it because it was very easy to make (uncomplicated, unlike yesterday's recipe), but it was definitely lacking. The strawberries just tasted like they were covered in vinegar, and my husband rinsed them off because he wanted them to taste like strawberries. I thought if you ate the pork with the strawberries and vinegar all in one bite it tasted a little like sweet and sour pork, which I like. We ate salad leftover from yesterday and some crusty bread with this meal. Here is RR's tidbit: "Look for balsamic vinegar that has been aged for at least 6 years. You can really taste the difference." I have no idea how long mine has aged, but I know it's been in my cupboard for about 2 years. I used pork chops that were about 1/2-3/4 inch thick instead of 1 1/2 inches, so I didn't cook them quite as long.