Vietnamese Pork Chops with Cantaloupe Basil Salad

Vietnamese Pork Chops with Cantaloupe Basil Salad

Vietnamese food is definitely something I crave often. Tons of fresh herbs, pickled veggies, and multiple layers of flavor are some of my favorite things about Vietnamese food. I would love to learn authentic recipes from someone one day! Today I’m sharing a fun and simple recipe that’s made with ingredients you might already have in your kitchen. If you don’t happen to eat pork, try this delicious marinade on chicken! This marinade works best overnight, so a quick tip is to throw it together while you’re cooking dinner the previous night and throw it in the fridge. This grilled pork turns out so tender and savory, which is accompanied by a sweet cantaloupe salad. Let’s get cookin! 

What You Need: (Serves 1-2) 

- 2 pork chops ( I like rib chops, but only shoulder chops were available. Any kind will work out :) 

For the Marinade:

- 2 tbsp rice vinegar 

- 2 tbsp soy sauce 

- 1 tbsp fish sauce 

- 1 tbsp brown sugar 

- 2 tbsp fresh minced garlic 

- Fresh cracked black pepper and salt 

For the Cantaloupe Salad: 

- ½ cantaloupe 

- 1 cup basil 

- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice

- ½ tsp salt, cracked black pepper

- ½ shallot, thinly sliced

What To Do: 

- In a bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp fish sauce, and 2 tbsp fresh minced garlic. 

- Place your pork chops in a ziplock bag. 

- Pour the marinade over the pork. Massage the marinade into the meat and allow it to sit for at least 4 hours ~ overnight (best). 

- Once the pork has marinaded long enough, remove it from the fridge and allow it to come to room temp. Season with salt and pepper. 

- Halve a cantaloupe and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut the cantaloupe into wedges and then 1″ chunks. Toss with basil leaves, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, ½ tsp salt, and a crack of black pepper.

- To finish the salad, simply sauté thin slivers of half a shallot in extra virgin olive oil and season with salt. Combine with the cantaloupe salad. 

- Once you are ready to serve, plate the Cantaloupe Basil Salad and heat a grill or grilling pan on medium-high heat. I’m using a cast iron grill pan. 

- Pork can be overcooked incredibly fast. It’s important to keep an eye on this protein, as it’s super lean. For a pork chop like this, quick cooking like grilling, broiling, or sear-roasting are the best methods. I’m also using my trusty meat thermometer that always ensures perfect results. In this case, you’ll want to cook your pork just till it reaches 145F. 

- To achieve perfect grill marks, use my easy guide: Place the protein on the grill facing 10:00, searing for about 2-3 minutes until good grill marks appear. With tongs, pick up the pork and keeping it on the same side, face the meat towards 2:00 for another 2-3 minutes. Then flip and repeat.

- Cook until the internal temp reaches 145F. 

- Remove the pork from the grill and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. Serve on top of the Cantaloupe Basil Salad. 

The flavor of this pork is robust. The longer it marinades, the better. Pairing the pork with sweet Tuscan cantaloupe and spicy, sweet, licorice-like basil is really an unexpected combination. This would be great over vermicelli or rice, or simply on its own :) 

Thanks for reading! If you cook recipes from the blog, take a pic and share it by tagging #brokeandcooking! :) You can find me on IG and Twitter @bac_blog! Have a great week!