American

Pesto Grilled Pork Chops

July 15, 2020
Photo by Merrill Stubbs
Author Notes

A warm weather staple for my family, this is really more a technique than a recipe: Douse grillable protein (pork chops, chicken thighs, fish filets, etc.) in pesto; let it chill out in the fridge for several hours; grill and enjoy! —Merrill Stubbs

  • Prep time 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • For the pesto
  • 4 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 7 medium garlic scapes
  • 1 fat clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • For the pork
  • 3 pounds bone-in pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1/2 cup pesto (see above)
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Combine the arugula, basil, garlic scapes, garlic, and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor. Zest and juice the lemon and add both, along with the salt and pepper.
  2. Pulse the mixture several times, scraping down the sides of the bowl of the food processor once or twice in between pulses, until it's finely chopped.
  3. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Once the oil is added, continue processing until you have a smooth mixture, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary and set aside (if saving for later, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate; the pesto will keep for up to a week).
  4. Put the pork chops in a bowl or shallow container and add 1/2 cup of pesto. Use your hands to thoroughly coat all sides of the pork with pesto. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 8.
  5. About 30 minutes before you're ready to cook the pork chops, remove the container from the refrigerator. Heat your grill to medium-high.
  6. Season both sides of the pork chops with a bit more salt (to taste) and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, covering the grill to retain the heat. You're looking for pork chops that are cooked through but still a bit pink in the center. Don't be afraid to test one of the chops by cutting into the center with a sharp knife -- better for them to be perfectly cooked than perfect looking! Let the pork chops rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. I like to cut the pork into 1/2-inch thick slices and arrange them on a serving dish, then squeeze some lemon juice and drizzle a bit more olive oil over the top.

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I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.