This dish is from the Campania region of Italy where wild fennel is plentiful. Campania is the home of the city of Naples, the San Marzano tomato and the city of Benevento for which this dish is named. All you need is fennel seeds to make this dish but you can garnish it with fennel fronds.
This recipe is for 4 people.
Ingredients and Directions:
- 4 1-inch-thick pork chops (preferably with bone-in)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
Note: You will need a heavy bottom skillet or french oven for this dish. A cast iron skillet works the best.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, pressing in the seasonings with your hand, and dredge them in the flour.
In a 10 to 12-inch heavy bottom skillet, heat the oil until almost smoking. Add the pork chops and cook 1 minute on each side, until evenly browned. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon fennel seed on 1 side of the chops and press in with a wooden spoon. Turn and sprinkle the remaining teaspoon on the other side and press in. Add wine and garlic, and place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until just cooked through. If you are worried about over cooking, use a meat thermometer and cook to 160 degrees F.
Remove the chops to a plate and keep warm. Over medium heat, cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add the fennel fronds to the hot liquid and cook 1 minute more, allowing fronds to wilt. Remove the garlic and pour the wine sauce over the chops, garnishing with the fennel fronds.