Many years ago during a trip to Italy, I remember stopping at a roadside stand somewhere near Florence to buy “porchetta.” From my first bite of this intensely flavored grilled pork, I was smitten. The porchetta (pronounced por-ket-ah) was prepared with a whole boned pig that was stuffed with garlic and herbs, then rolled, and cooked slowly on a spit. Vendors served the fork-tender pork as an exquisite sandwich layered between bread slices.
Over time, I discovered many recipes for porchetta, but all required long, slow grilling, and I never seemed to have enough free time to try them. Then, this summer I had a eureka moment! Why not use the traditional seasonings of fennel seeds, rosemary, sage, and garlic as a rub for pork tenderloins. For my adaptation I slathered the tenderloins with an herb and garlic olive oil mixture, before marinating them for several hours. Then I browned Continue reading
Like Memorial Day and July 4th that precede it, Labor Day is a holiday celebrated casually. For the last of that triumvirate of summer fêtes, most cooks (and I am certainly one of them!) will be pulling out grills, cooking burgers, steaks, chops–you name it–over open flames. I’m especially excited about my menu this year since I’ve been fine-tuning a recipe for grilled pork tenderloins and plums served with a verdant summer salad.
Nothing could be easier. The tenderloins are marinated in a simple mixture of balsamic vinegar, soy, and canola oil with generous seasonings of fresh ginger, garlic, and black pepper. If you have enough time, it’s best to marinate the meat overnight, but in a pinch you can let it rest for several hours. Grilled over a hot fire, the meat needs 20 to 25 minutes until fork tender and the flesh blush pink. During the last few minutes, juicy plums, quartered and skewered, are cooked quickly alongside until slightly charred.
As soon as the first bottles of local cider appear in our markets, I put one in my cart, not just for sipping, but for cooking as well. I love to cook seasonally, and nothing says fall more clearly than fresh cider.
This year, along with serving mugs of warm spiced cider, I’ve used this fall libation to baste pork tenderloins seasoned with sage, thyme, and rosemary. After browning the tenderloins with some sliced shallots, I add cider to the pan, slide it into the oven, and then halfway through the roasting arrange apple wedges around the pork. As a finishing touch I prepare a quick pan sauce with more cider, a hint of cider vinegar, and some butter. Continue reading
The thermometer has reached into the 70s, the forsythia are at last in bloom, and sleek, long crimson rhubarb stalks are proudly displayed in our groceries. Spring has at last arrived in New England!
As a cook I look forward to all the harbingers of the season, but none more that the fresh ingredients which start to appear in our markets. Rhubarb, an early entry, is one of my favorites. Typically, I include this fruit (technically it’s a vegetable, but most of use it as the former) in desserts such as crumbles, crisps, or compotes, but this year, I decided instead to make chutney with this colorful new arrival. Continue reading