A few years ago, I picked up a book called A Flash in the Pan. It promised easy meals that could be created in one skillet; it also happened to be on sale. So I took it home and it has become one of my most inspirational books. The recipes are basic, yet flavorful, but everything is so simple and adaptable, that you can really take their ideas and transform them with what you have on hand. This time I decided to actually follow the recipe exactly and cooked up a batch of their fennel-crusted pork chops. The fennel is extremely fragrant and the charred lemons added a real nice balance. To get the recipe — it's one skillet and easy! — read more.

I ended up rounding out my meal by serving it with a side of brown rice and steamed edamame.

Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops and Charred Lemons
From A Flash in the Pan by Brooke Dojny and Melanie Barnard

1 tbsp. fennel seeds
4 center-cut boneless pork chops about 1-inch thick
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 lemons
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. chopped parsley

  1. Place the fennel seeds in a sturdy plastic bag and use a mallet or rolling pin to roughly crush the seeds. [I used a mortar and pestle.]
  2. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the fennel seeds, pressing them into the surface of the meat.
  3. In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of the oil. Cook the pork chops over medium heat until well browned on both sides and almost completely cooked within, regulating the heat so the seeds don't burn, about eight minutes. Transfer to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pan.
  4. While the pork is cooking, cut one of the lemons into thin slices, remove the seeds, and set aside. Squeeze two tablespoons of juice from the remaining lemon and reserve.
  5. Add the remaining two tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the lemon slices and cook over medium heat until well browned and caramelized, about two minutes. Remove to plate with the pork.
  6. Add the garlic to the pan drippings and cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the broth and reserved lemon juice, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced by about one third, two to three minutes. Return the pork, lemons, and any accumulated juices to the pan, and simmer over medium heat until the pork is cooked through and no trace of pink remains, 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The pork can be cooked up to 1 hour ahead and set aside at cool room temperature. Reheat gently.)
  9. Stir in the parsley and serve.