Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Anise

Anise, a plant closely related to fennel and licorice, is used to flavor everything from Italian cookies to black jelly beans.  While anise extract imparts a nice flavor to sweets, anise seeds are a much better choice, nutrition-wise.  Anise seeds are a good source of iron and a low-calorie way to add instant flavor and crunch to everything from baked goods to savory main dishes.

Grilled Pork Chops with Anise Seed Rub and Mango Mojo

Ingredients
For mango mojo:
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 large garlic clove
1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeño (including seeds)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
For anise-seed rub:
1 tablespoon anise seeds
¾ teaspoon black peppercorns
1½ teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (¾-inch-thick) loin pork chops, trimmed

Instructions

  1. Heat grill.
  2. Make mojo: Purée mango, lime juice, garlic, and jalapeño in a blender, then stir in cilantro.
  3. Make rub: Finely grind anise seeds and peppercorns in an electric coffee/spice grinder with sugar. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and stir in oil.
  4. Grill pork: Brush both sides of pork with spice rub. Grill pork on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 2 minutes on each side. Move pork off to side of grill (not directly over coals; moderately low heat for gas grills) and cook pork, covered, turning once, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes more on each side.
  5. Transfer to a platter and let stand, loosely covered, 5 minutes. Serve pork with mojo. 

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

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