Never underestimate the power of preserves.
With a jar of jellied fruit and sugar, you can whip up a glaze, a basting sauce, salad dressing, dip or dessert. No matter what fruit you prefer, preserves are the work horse of the kitchen.
Do you have to make your own? Heck, no. I’ve done that, filling the kitchen with strawberries and steam. The splattered walls looked like a scene from The Evil Dead by the time I was finished. Don’t get me wrong – those preserves were amazing. But I haven’t made them again in 20 years. Some scars just don’t heal.
You can find dozens of kinds of preserves at grocery stores, and better yet, farmer’s markets, where hardy women produce magic in glass.
The other day, I received a nice surprise in the mail. Some friends remembered my fondness for the tangerine marmalade sold at Florida roadside tourist traps, so they sent me a couple of jars. I’m ready to put these babies to work. Tonight, the marmalade will become a tasty vinaigrette for a big ol’ salad. The tangy dressing really pops with the creaminess of avocados and the crunch of raw sugar snap peas.
They’ll also make a great topping for homemade shortbread. Simply gently heat the marmalade in a pan just until it liquifies,. Pull the shortbread from the oven, poke some holes in it with the handle of a wooden spoon and pour on the preserves. Let it cool before cutting – if you can. Key lime marmalade works great for this, too.
Marmalade, preserves, jelly or jam – they all work for you. Some other friends gave us moonshine jelly as a joke for Christmas. With both white wine and moonshine in the mix, the stuff looked like a natural for a sauce for pan-fried pork chops. Bingo.
So, head to your fridge or pantry, check out the jeweled-tone jars of jams, jellies and preserves and start thinking. Here are a couple of recipes to rev your engines:
1/4 cup vinegar (cider, red wine or white wine)
1/4 cup your favorite preserves or marmalade, at room temperature
1/2 shallot or two stalks of a green onions
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place the vinegar, preserves, shallot, mustard and garlic in a food processor. Pulse three to four times to blend. Then with processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
PBJ (pork chop, butter and jelly)
If you can find moonshine jelly or something similar, omit the wine in this recipe
4 oz. of orange marmalade, at room temperature
1 oz. white wine
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
2 bone-in thin pork chops
In a small bowl, whisk the marmalade, wine and mustard together. Set aside.
Season the chops with salt and pepper. In a pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add pork chops. Cook four minutes, until chops are seared, then flip them. Turn the heat down to medium, briefly whisk the sauce and pour it over the chops. Cook another four-five minutes. Place chops on plates and pour sauce over them.