Playing with Fire

Grilled Fennel Crusted Pork Chops with Lemon
A man can only take so much. At least that's how Mr. B put it when I suggested we continue our Earth Day celebrations all week long and enjoy one vegetarian feast after another.

We were sitting outside, near the BBQ when Mr. B suddenly reached over and plucked the lighter from its handy spot. He glared at me and then began flicking the lighter. "What makes you think I want to eat veggie burgers all week long?" he asked, the flame from the lighter reflected in his glasses. He kept flicking the lighter, never backing down that intense stare of his; both the flame and his stare were steady. He looked like he was about to turn into someone I didn't know. Someone I didn't want to know.

"Or," I offered, "I have boneless pork chops thawed out. We could grill those if you'd like." I'm not sure how the F.B.I. handles intense hostage negotiations with deranged individuals, but in our house, whenever Mr. B's intensity grows palpable, pig seems to work wonders.

And just like that, his whole demeanor changed; his face softened, his brow straightened and best of all, he stopped flicking the lighter while intently sizing me up.

"Um, yeah," he said. "You know how much I like pork." Then, seamlessly, we went on to talk how we wanted to cook it up. Mr. B likes the way I use fennel with pork, so he requested that I whip up my magic while he fired up the grill. I was more than happy to oblige; he could play with fire all he wanted, as long as he was grilling up our dinner.



Grilled Fennel Crusted Pork Chops with Lemon

6 boneless pork chops, lightly pounded
3 tablespoons ground fennel seeds
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
2 garlic toes, finely minced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of olive oil
4 lemons. halved and grilled

1. Preheat the grill
2. Mix together the ground fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and salt.
3. Rub both sides of the pork chops with the seasoning mix; put onto a sheet pan.
4. Toss on the parsley and garlic; drizzle with the olive oil; rub mixture into the meat, turning to coat each side completely.
5. Let meat marinate, at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
6. Grill on hot grill, searing meat on both sides.
7. Serve with grilled lemon halves.

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