Grilling Guru Recipe: Sotto’s Fennel-Crusted Pork Chop

Steve Samson and Zach Pollock share their recipe

[From May, 2011]

Steve Samson and Zach Pollack’s new Southern Italian restaurant is known for the charred works of art coming out of its Volkswagen-sized, bright yellow pizza oven. But as the weather warms, Sotto’s fire moves to the grill. Here, the chefs put flame to pork with a rustic, fennel-crusted, bone-in chop that wows thanks to fresh herbs and just a few high quality ingredients—not the least of which is a heritage hog.

Serves 4


Herb salt
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped sage
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 cup whole fennel seeds
4 16oz. bone-in pork chops, preferably Berkshire or Heritage
6 Tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
Coarse grey salt

The day before you plan to cook the pork, season both sides of each chop with herb salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange chops in a single layer on a sheet pan and store uncovered in the refrigerator. An hour before you are ready to cook the pork, remove from fridge. Don’t worry if the salt has brought moisture to the surface of the chops as this will help the fennel seeds adhere. Crust both sides of each chop with the seeds, pressing them firmly into the meat. Grill the chops, preferably over wood or charcoal, until done. Before serving, drizzle the chops generously with olive oil and finish with a few pinches of grey salt.

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