Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Let's Talk Pork :-)

Filetto di Maiale con Ripieno di Albicocca & Salvia
Pork Tenderloin with Sage & Apricot Filling

I don't eat it that often, but I do enjoy pork. Many people tend to avoid it, as they find it to be to dry and bland tasting... but that might just have something to do with the fact that they overcook and under-season it! So this evening, I decided to try something a little different, to coax a little more flavor into this little Summer supper!

Pork goes wonderfully well with both fruity components such as apple, pear or indeed apricot in this case, and savory ingredients like sage- but the combination of both such elements brings out the best of its own subtle flavor. Overcooking at too high a temperature, can cause pork to dry out- so I attempted a cooking method that would first gently cook the meat and add juice and flavor to it and then brown it off afterwards... which is maybe a "back-to-front" way of doing things, but a way that worked just fine for me! And it just may well work for you too! Take a look and see...

In order to make this, I started off with relatively thick slices of pork tenderloin, around 1.5", into which I cut a nice, deep slit with a small, sharp knife, forming a little pocket of sorts. I sprinkled a little salt and pepper into the cut, then laid 2-3 nice sage leaves inside as well as an apricot, which was halved and had the stone removed. I laid the tenderloin slices onto a sheet of Ceran-wrap, sprinkled them with salt and pepper and wrapped then tightly, squeezing out any air and making sure they were well sealed. 

Onto my steam rack the slices went, on went the heat, and there they sat in my saucepan to steam nicely for 10 minutes, after which time the pork had changed from a fresh pink to a much paler, almost white color... but do not panic! The pork was now cooked and had taken on the rich flavor of the sage and the sweetness of the apricot, which had also softened a little and become milder and juicier. And things were already smelling good! So the only task remaining was to make sure that it tasted good and also looked a little prettier... 

So out of the cling-film they came and onto my frying pan, where I let them brown-off gently from below at a high heat for just a minute or so, whilst turning on the broiler at its highest setting in the oven. Just a minute or two to go until things are ready... and pretty exciting at that!

The next ingredients were a light trickle of honey, which gave everything a nice rich glaze and a final pinch of sea salt- then into the oven they went for a final minute to let that caramelize and give everything a rich, golden glow and a wonderful, full flavor! I enjoyed mine with a simple green salad on the side and was perfectly happy with that... but I did have a slice of bread at hand to soak up some of the yummy juices! Because no, prepared this way the pork was not dry at all- and though the flavors and seasonings were so basic, it was very, very delicious! Need I say more? :-) Ok then- I won't! Except that I hope that you try it and I hope you enjoy!

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