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Pan-seared pork chops with roasted avocado, broccoli and sherry vinaigrette

Updated: 
January 21, 2014 - 8:59am

The next time you’re looking to fill that carb/starch slot on the plate, try roasted avocado instead. It’s creamy and a little different.

This recipe calls for something you can find all too easily in the produce department: a firm avocado. The complete meal takes less than an hour to prepare, start to finish.

From Nick Palermo, executive chef at the Old Angler’s Inn in Potomac, Md.

Pan-seared pork chops with roasted avocado, broccoli and sherry vinaigrette

Servings: 4 or 5

Kosher salt

2 cups broccoli florets

4 or 5 thick-cut boneless or bone-in pork chops (6 to 8 ounces each)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Flesh of 2 or 2 1/2 firm Hass avocados, cut lengthwise into quarters

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the avocados

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

2 teaspoons minced shallot

Fill a mixing bowl with ice water.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the broccoli florets. Blanch for no more than 3 minutes, then drain and transfer to the ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Cool, then drain and dry thoroughly.

Season the pork chops lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the pork chops; sear until golden brown in spots, 4 to 6 minutes for each side. The chops will be medium-rare; transfer to the oven for further cooking, if desired. The internal temperature of the meat should be no higher than 145 degrees; let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the avocado quarters lightly with salt and pepper, then drizzle sparingly with olive oil and rub to coat. Arrange them cut side up on the baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes; the edges will be lightly browned.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the garlic; cook for 30 seconds, then add the blanched broccoli florets and stir to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper; cook just until warmed through, then remove from the heat.

Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, the vinegar and shallot in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to form an emulsified vinaigrette.

Place a chop at the center of each plate, then arrange the broccoli and 2 roasted avocado quarters alongside. Drizzle all components with the vinaigrette. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per serving (based on 5, using 5 chops): 460 calories, 41 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 28 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 7 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

Chilean-style avocado salad

Serves: 4 or 5

Serve this bright, pretty, crunchy salad as a first course or side dish.

Make ahead: The salad components can be prepped and refrigerated several hours in advance. Dress the salad just before serving.

From Nick Palermo.

Kosher salt

1 pound asparagus (woody ends trimmed off), peeled

Flesh of 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup canned hearts of palm (about 7 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (may substitute fresh hearts of palm; see note)

2 medium ribs celery, cut into small dice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a mixing bowl with ice water.

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the asparagus. Blanch for no more than 2 minutes, then drain and transfer to the ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Cool, then drain and dry thoroughly. The asparagus should be tender but not mushy or crunchy. Cut each asparagus spear crosswise in half; cut only the trimmed-end halves crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.

Combine the 1/2-inch asparagus pieces, avocados, hearts of palm and celery in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the oil and lemon juice over the mixture, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss gently to incorporate.

Arrange 3 or 4 asparagus-spear halves at the center of each plate. Divide the dressed salad mixture on top.

Note: If you use fresh hearts of palm, chef Palermo recommends blanching the cut pieces in salted, acidulated water for a minute or tw