A few months ago I was shopping for a food photo shoot, we needed lots of different types of salt for a picture so I was on the hunt for variety. I walked to Forager’s Market, the lovely DUMBO store that always has just what I need and this time was no different. I found Maldon Salt, my favorite. It’s a British sea salt that is flakey, light and airy, I use it on everything. They also had smoked Maldon, I remembered when I first moved into the neighborhood walking into the store and there it was, such a treat, like someone saying “we will give you this great market and we will put smoked Maldon in it too!” They had many other salts which I had seen before and then I saw the vanilla salt. I realized that the smoked Maldon had just been upstaged. Fleur de Sel, vanilla and kaffir lime zest it was beautiful and it was coming with me.
Now I have heard of vanilla sugar, it is a common ingredient in Swedish cooking, but this was new. It sat on our shelf for a few weeks, I would look at it when doing the dishes or filling up the water purifier wondering what I would do with it, and then finally one day I thought pork! Thick-cut bacon, two bone-in pork chops and sage cooked in a cast-iron pan….my boyfriend and I were eating looking at one another saying “who do we think we are eating something this good, let’s make it again tomorrow.” I must say bacon wrapped anything is worth the recipe alone but the vanilla salt adds a richness and an earthiness that sends the dish over the moon. Here I have the recipe for the bacon wrapped pork and I have included a homemade version of the vanilla salt I bought.
Bacon Wrapped Pork Chop with Vanilla Salt
4 pork loin chops bone-in 1 inch thick
4 slices of bacon, preferably nitrate free
8 fresh sage leaves
1 ½ tsp. vanilla salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
¼ cup of fleur de sel
1 tsp. lime zest, chopped finely
Take out pork chops, rinse and pat dry, set aside. Make your vanilla salt by combining the vanilla bean seeds, fleur de sel and lime zest in a small bowl.
Sprinkle pork with a little more than an 1/8 tsp. of vanilla salt and black pepper to taste. Place a sage leaf on each side of pork and wrap with one slice of bacon.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. When pan is hot add two of the wrapped pork chops seam side down, cook 5 minutes on each side, when cooked take pork out of the pan and let rest 5 minutes. Cook remaining two chops.