Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pork Salome

Unfortunately, I no longer have a smart phone: it has been replaced with a $20 device whose camera leaves much to be desired.

I lived in Boise, Idaho for awhile as an adolescent. I did not like it very much, and there's very little I miss about it. But if I had a teleporter, I would be having lunch at Bar Gernika on a weekly basis*. And I would order the Solomo sandwich with croquetas on the side. The warm, soft, chickeny croquetas - I have never encountered their equal, and attempting to make them at home would probably break my heart. The Solomo, or rather, its pork and pimiento filling, I did decide to attempt however, and this is what I came up with:


~1 pound pork - my grocery store sells what appears to be a pork loin that has been thinly sliced. You basically want relatively thin slices and/or medallions, how you get 'em is up to you.

1 jar roasted peppers (I happened to have some Trader Joe's brand handy)

1 lime

1 clove garlic (or so)

salt, pepper

Juice the lime into a bowl. Add the entire jar of roasted peppers, liquid included (you may want to dice them a bit. I didn't, out of laziness, figuring I could just do that once they got to my plate. It worked out fine. But if you are making this for a group, I'd suggest strips or something along those lines). Add pork, stir well. Leave to marinate for a few hours (probably not more than 2-3, and maybe it'd be better to do less. I think the lime juice dries the pork out some. I guess you could potentially add it during cooking, but I think maybe it like, shocks the meat into absorbing more flavor? I dunno.).
(If, as I did, you're making kale and rice to accompany this dinner - which was quite delicious - you'd begin put the rice on, then get the kale going, then turn your attention to the meat. The timing worked out perfectly.)
In a large pan, melt a pat of butter and add a bit of olive oil. Fish the pork out with your fingers and brown it on each side, adding garlic salt and pepper to the side facing up once you've put the piece down. Once it's browned - ie, basically cooked, if it's thinly sliced - squeeze in the garlic (I admit, you can probably skip this step) and then dump the marinade over the top, bring to a boil, and turn it off. Boom, you're done.
The pork is juicy and infused with the flavor of the roast peppers. I think the lime is key, because it cuts the heavy sweetness of the peppers just a bit. I'd recommend a nice white wine to go with it. I had some Espirito Lagoalva 2007 in the fridge, so I drank that. Pleasant a wine though it be, it was a little too sweet. I think you want something slightly dry, but still fruity.

*It's a strange quirk of Boise - it is a strange magnet for various ethnic minorities. There is a Basque part of town, which is actually one block, consisting of a small museum/cultural center, some sidewalk art, and Bar Gernika. Or at least, that was the case when I lived there, which was about 15 years ago.

**Yes, I changed the name slightly.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bacon Lentil Pap

I was sort of scavenging around the kitchen for scraps to make into dinner last night, and figured that lentils would probably make for a solid meal. In searching for what to do with them, I came upon a number of recipes, one of which suggested cooking them in pork fat. This, of course, seemed like a great idea. I then found some other recipes, and combined them in my head with inspiration from a recipe I really like for pappa al pomodoro* (now that I look at it, the resemblance is actually quite minimal, and is based mostly on the bread and vinegar part, but whatever), from which this dish derives is onomatopoeic ish? name.

2/3 cup lentils
2 slices thick cut bacon (more is great too, that's just what I had handy)
8 cloves garlic
3 slices bread (day-old/stale works well, but fresh is fine too. but it needs to be real bread, the quality kind with a proper crust, not some sliced sammich shit.)
vinegar (red wine is best, but I ran out and supplemented with apple cider and then, in desperation, balsamic)

Peel and finely chop the garlic. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat, fry the bacon. Once the fat has rendered, remove the strips, setting them aside to cool. Maybe throw in some extra bacon grease - I did. Add the diced garlic to the fat, and as soon as it starts to sizzle and get fragrant - ie, before it turns brown or black, which happens so much faster than you'd expect - add the lentils and toss. Then add 4 cups of water, some salt, a bunch of oregano, and a good few glugs of vinegar. Cook at a medium-low simmer until the lentils are done. Every recipe I consulted said this would take about 25 minutes, but wtf, my lentils took like an hour. What's that about**. Anyways, be sure to check on 'em occasionally and add more water if necessary. Once the lentils are basically cooked, toast your 3 slices of bread (stale bread would not require toasting), roughly chop it, and add it to the pot. Boom, you're done.

Oh, I forgot - about 20 minutes into cooking, I discovered that I had two very nice tomatoes, so I chopped them up and added them as well. You could probably use a can of diced ones too. I think they're a good touch.

*Which, by the way, I have made with a surprise addition of chorizo, and it worked very well. I thought I'd posted about that, but apparently not. Mea culpa!

**Incidentally, one recipe I saw said to put the lentils in cold salted water, bring it to a boil, cook 5 minutes, remove from heat, let them sit for an hour, then cook 25 minutes. This seemed like a royal pain in the ass, but maybe it would be more effective?