If I had to pick a new middle name, it would be efficiency. Don’t laugh. I’m not joking. As far as names go, I think it’s got a nice ring to it. But mostly I’m a big fan of efficiency in practice. If I can get something done in half the time, why not? If I can do two things at once, all the better! Now, this efficiency-ophilia comes with a downside called “impatience” (well-documented on this site). But let’s focus on the positive for now: efficiency!
Which brings me to September. Mid-September to be exact. It’s my favorite time of year: the weather, the attire, the produce, the sports—it’s all perfect. And, so very efficient.
Essentially, September allows you to do two things—two seasons—at once. You get the best of summer (baseball, warmth, sandals, tomatoes, sun-kissed skin, cold beers, grilling, farmers’ markets) and the best of fall (golden light, a hint of crispness, cardigans, cow-girl shirts (this year, at least), apples, football, back to school excitement), and you get it all at the very same time.
Sadly, this time of year, is a flash in the pan—a couple weeks’ worth of perfection and before you know it, the leaves are falling off the trees and and the frost is creeping in while you sleep. So, for now, I’m trying to enjoy it. To revel in it. It’s a bursting feeling in my chest—and I like it.
As with most things in life, this feeling is translating into the things I cook. So much of what I’ve been making bears hallmarks of both fall and summer. Take the scones I posted earlier this week: you can’t get much more summer-y than wild blueberries, but the maple syrup provided a whisper of autumn too.
The same is true with this recipe. It takes a classically fall dish—pork chops with cooked apples—and gives it a summer twist. Plums, split in half and grilled briefly, stand in for the apples. And it’s made on the grill, which smells of and tastes like and just is summer to me.
To boot, you can grill the pork and plums at the same time, the whole thing taking you hardly more than 15 minutes. Terribly efficient and terribly lovely—quite like this time of year.
Grilled Pork Chops & Plums
4 butterflied boneless pork chops
6 plums, halved and pitted
about 1/4 cup olive oil
sea or kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
Heat a grill over medium-high heat.
Brush the chops and cut sides of the plums with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the chops 4 to 5 minutes on one side. Flip the chops and add the plums, grilling both for 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chops to a plate and cover tightly with foil. Once the plums are cool enough to handle, roughly chop them and add to a large bowl. Uncover the foiled plate and carefully pour off the accumulated juices from the plate into the large bowl holding the plums. Toss the plums in the juices. Taste the plums and add additional salt, pepper and oil as needed.
Serve the chops topped with the plums.