Maple-Brined Pork Chops with J. Lohr Estates Valdiguié Fig Jam and Asparagus

recipe courtesy of Chef Jeremy Sewall, Chef at Island Creek Oyster Bar, Boston, Massachusetts

Serves 4

4 small pork chops (6-7 oz, single bone)

Brine

  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 small Spanish onion, cut in half
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 10 cups ice

Mix all the ingredients except the ice in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and in a large bowl, pour the mixture over the ice (the ice will cool down the brine enough to put in the pork chops). Add the chops to the cool mixture and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Remove the chops from brine, and let sit, uncovered, for several hours in the refrigerator before grilling.

Asparagus

  • 2 bunches asparagus, woody stems removed
  • 1 gallon water mixed with ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Bring the salted water to a boil and add the asparagus. Simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain when cool and refrigerate until almost time to serve, then warm the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the garlic and ginger. When it begins to color, add the asparagus and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

Fig Jam

  • 4 pints fresh figs, quartered
  • 1 bottle J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • seasoning sachet (see below)

Seasoning Sachet

5 whole black peppercorns, a few sprigs of thyme, sprig of fresh rosemary, 1 star anise and ½ cinnamon stick. Put sachet ingredients on a square of cheesecloth and tie together with a string to securely close. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then simmer on low heat until figs have reached a jam consistency. Remove sachet and purée the fig mixture in a food processor.

To Serve

Grill the pork chops about 7 minutes per side over medium heat; turn frequently to get even color and doneness. Place each pork chop on a small plate, drape the asparagus over the bone and a spoonful of fig jam on the top of the chop. Serve immediately with a delicious glass of J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié!