Recipe from Rob Feenie’s New Casual Classics Cookbook

Rob Feenie excelled at Le Crocodile, cornered the fine-dining market with Lumière and Feenie’s, and, upon moving to Cactus Club in 2008, redefined both the chain and our casual-fine-dining landscape. Casual Classics, his fourth cookbook, reflects the upscale-to-casual shift that has overtaken Vancouver’s food scene. Feenie masterfully elevates comfort food with a confidence evidenced in recipes that call for honey in pizza dough and creamy burrata in a tomato salad. Recipes like pork piccata with white-wine-braised kale and rabbit in tarragon mustard sauce reflect Chef’s fine-dining roots; even so, the instructions are easy to follow. Feenie endorses local ingredients throughout and leads readers to results that look as lovely as they taste. Stop by Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks (1740 W. Second Ave.) on Sept. 9 for a demo of a recipe and cookbook signing with the Iron Chef.

(recpie below)






Brined, Grilled Pork Chops

with apple-pineapple relish and braised Brussels sprouts

Pork Chops
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 Tbsp crushed black peppercorns
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
4 double-cut pork chops, each 12 to 14 oz
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil


Apple-Pineapple Relish

1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp liquid honey
1/3 cup roasted pecans, lightly crushed


Braised Brussels Sprouts

1 cup diced good-quality maple-smoked bacon
2 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
1 lb Brussels sprouts, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Pork has been part of my family’s repertoire for as long as I can remember: Mom made her famous pork roast every Sunday. My wife and I love pork as well, but we brine it first for at least twenty-four hours to keep the meat very moist and hard to overcook. The relish mixes apples with sweet pineapple, then gets a nice kick of heat from chili flakes and a bit of acid from rice vinegar. Combined with Brussels sprouts-cooked at the last minute with bacon, a touch of lemon and a hint of Parmesan cheese to finish-this is a flavourful,well-rounded dish. Serve these chops with some roasted potatoes or even polenta. Serves 4


From the book Rob Feenie’s Casual Classics: Everyday Recipes for Family and Friends, by Rob Feenie, published 2012 by Douglas & McIntyre: an imprint of D&M Publishers Inc. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.