Hi Mom!!

Confessions of a chop-a-holic

Local weatherman and weekend co-anchor for WDBJ7, Jay Webb contacted me recently to ask if I’d be interested in fixing something (foodwise) on the “Weekend Diner” segment for the News 7 Sunday Morning show.  Jay found me through a friend who had done the show once before but was only lukewarm for repeating his performance. The friend recommended me and Jay went with it.
Anyway, I pondered the offer for a fraction of a second and agreed.  It was, after all, television.  This would be not only an opportunity to promote Wine Gourmet but also to get my made-for-radio face beaming into living rooms all over the valley.  At 8am on a Sunday morning I might be playing only to cereal-munching children, sleepy-eyed adults and bored household pets but, at least, it would be a step closer to show biz.   (Show biz!)
I pored through my cookbooks and recipe files until I happened on something that I thought would work within the necessary restrictions of time and culinary infrastructure.  Jay told me that I’d have only three-four minutes for the segment and so I knew that, whatever dish I chose, it would have to be something quite simple.
I selected an Italian dish that I’d made once before, Braciole al Gorgonzola – or simply, Pork chops in Gorgonzola sauce.  I practiced making the dish twice in the week leading up to the show to ensure that I could pull it off within the constraints – and I was confident.
I arrived at the studio trailing gas burners, pans, knives, utensils, cutting board, and food.  A crew member directed me to an area of the studio set-up as a faux kitchen.  It featured some baker’s racks along a wall that were festooned with vaguely kitchen-y knick-knacks that appeared to be culled from yard sales and second-hand stores.  This would serve as a backdrop.  In front of the racks were two steel tables pushed together to form an “L” and this would be the stage for the dish to be created.  I’ve visited TV sets before and I’m always amazed at how normal and natural things can look on the screen versus the reality of the set.  That is, on TV, everything looks solid and substantial.  Get behind the scene however and you see that these are cheap sets finished only to the extent that the camera can see them.  Out of camera view, TV sets are a patchwork of exposed plywood, duct tape, signal cables, and tissue boxes – just like sets in a theater production.  There’s little point in pouring money into things that can’t be seen.
I sorted my things out from the boxes I’d hauled them in and prepared to get all Emeril on them.  As I set up, I was coached about how the segment would go, fitted with a microphone, given the hand signals used to indicate remaining time in the segment, and begged not to produce smoke (apparently the fire alarm had been set-off at some time in the past and the Fire Department took a dim view of having to respond).
As I had to have some chops already cooked by the time Weekend Diner would begin, I started applying heat to meat and kept an eye out for smoke.  Jay and crew could not have been nicer or more accommodating and, as the aroma of pan-fried pork began to fill the studio, I got a lot of happy nods from them.
Here’s a link to a video of the segment and the recipe.



Braciole al Gorgonzola  (Pork Chops in Gorgonzola Sauce)


This recipe is for two pork chops. You can simply scale it up for however many chops you’d like to do.

2 lg. Pork chops
1 Tbl. Butter
1/4 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc are both ideal)
2 oz. Crumbled mild gorgonzola cheese
1 Tbl. Finely minced red bell pepper
2 Tbl. Finely chopped Italian parsley
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Using a thick-bottomed pan, bring the pan up to heat under a med./med.-high setting.

Salt and pepper the pork chops

Once the pan is hot, add a dollop of olive oil and the butter. As soon as the butter has melted, while it’s still sizzling, add the chops to the pan. Cook the chops 5-6 minutes, per side, for medium thickness or 8-10 minutes for 1″ + thickness.

After the chops are cooked, reduce the pan heat to low and move the chops to a warmed plate. (Either tent the chops with foil to keep warm or place in a warm oven.) Pour in the wine and stir to release the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. The wine will steam and reduce. When it has reduced by half its volume, add the gorgonzola, pepper, and parsley. (You could also save some of the pepper and parsley to decorate the chops.) Stir and the ingredients will incorporate into a sauce. Once fully formed, spoon the sauce over the chops and serve immediately.

Decorate the top of the chops with a sprinkle of parsley and bell pepper.

Try this with a side of pan-fried asparagus with Parmesan and some oven-roasted potatoes.

As for wine, this dish will go very well, the best really, with the wine that you used to make the sauce.

(Try Elena Walch Pinot Grigio or Chartron La Fleur white Bordeaux [Sauvignon Blanc])

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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