Grilled Pork Chop, Pluot, Arugula, Almond, Goat Cheese Salad Parmesan and Sweet Onion Polenta

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 8-oz pork chops, bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 4 cups arugula, washed
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 4 ripe but firm pluots, sliced


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan


Toasted almonds and jammy pluots accent the beautiful, fruit-forward flavors in the Harris Vineyard Merlot, while the grilled pork chop and creamy polenta enhance the wine’s rich, well-rounded finish. All the components of this great meal are easy to prepare, so you can still enjoy yourself and your company.


Preheat half of a gas grill on high and leave the other half off. Brush the pork chops with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill each side of the pork on high heat for two minutes. Move the chops to the cool side of the grill and shut the lid for five minutes. Remove the chops when they have reached 145?F. Allow to rest 3 minutes before serving.


To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a small container with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. The dressing does not need to be fully emulsified.

Place the arugula in a large bowl and evenly distribute the almonds, goat cheese and sliced pluots. By putting the heavy ingredients on top of the salad it is easier to serve the salad without all the goodies falling to the bottom. Dress the salad just before serving.


Place a 4-quart heavy-bottom pot on high heat. When the pot is hot, add extra virgin olive oil and then the onions. Stir the onions continuously for about 60 seconds, or until they start to show some caramelization. This will bring the sweetness out of the onion and add a roasted flavor to your polenta. Add the chicken stock and milk and allow this to come to a simmer. Slowly whisk the polenta into the hot liquid to avoid clumping. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes. The polenta should be smooth when fully cooked. Finish the polenta by stirring in Parmesan and adjusting the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a pork chop on a plate with the salad and polenta alongside. Enjoy with a glass of Nickel & Nickel Harris Vineyard Merlot.