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story.lead_photo.caption Honey-Orange Chops - Photo by Kelly Brant

My husband loves green olives -- in salads, on pizza, as an accompaniment to sandwiches and as a snack.

Me? Not so much. I like them soaked in gin or vodka, but you're more likely to find me picking them out of my food than piling them on. Especially in dishes that expose the olives to heat.

There's something about the cooking process that changes an olive's flavor -- and spreads it around to everything it touches -- that I find particularly unpleasant. (Don't get me started on canned "ripe" olives. Those things are an abomination.)

But I like to keep an open mind and I often revisit foods I dislike because tastes change. So when I came across a version of the following recipe I decided to give it a try -- olives and all.

It was delicious. Though heated, the olives aren't cooked so they didn't take on that funky flavor and when combined with the sweet, citrusy sauce they provided just the right salty-briny-astringent flavor to balance the dish.

The original recipe called for lamb chops, but we enjoyed it with much more economical pork chops. If you prefer and can afford lamb, by all means make it with lamb.

A note about nutrition information: At the request of several readers, I'm trying to include nutrition data with recipes whenever possible. The process is time consuming and isn't feasible in all instances. The following recipe's nutrition data is based on figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Composition Database.

Honey-Orange Chops

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon garlic paste OR 1 clove fresh garlic, very finely minced (see note)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 butterfly boneless pork chop OR 2 boneless pork loin chops

Salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed

1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, halved or sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest and juice, honey, garlic, coriander, cumin and smoked paprika; set aside.

Season pork on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet until hot, but not smoking. Add pork and asparagus and cook, turning pork once or twice, until pork is browned and reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees, about 5 minutes per side for 1-inch thick chops. Cook asparagus, rolling spears occasionally, until lightly charred and crisp-tender. Pour orange-honey mixture over pork and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Add olives and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Note: Look for garlic paste in the produce section near the fresh herbs.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 515 calories, 43 g protein, 26 g fat, 28 g carbohydrate (16 g sugar), 80 mg cholesterol, 1,500 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2.

Recipe inspired by a recipe in the February 2018 issue of Rachael Ray magazine

Food on 04/11/2018

Print Headline: Olives make sweet, citrusy chops shine

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