Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spanish Pork with Apple-Citrus Salsa, plus a delicious salad

I'm not even sure how I stumbled across this recipe, but man, it was awesome. I'm copy-pasting it in case the link stops working someday, because it is that good, and because I made some modifications (minor ones).


The Pork
1 1-pound pork tenderloin
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all the seasonings in a wee bowl. Rinse your pork (boyfriend always does this and now I do too) and pat it dry. Lovingly rub the olive oil all over it, then the spices, making sure its evenly coated with the mixture. Set on a plate.

Then, get to work on the apple salsa. Which just involves mixing all of the following together:

3-4 apples (preferably something tart, but one semi-tart is also fine. I had 2 green apples and one honey crisp), cored and diced (no need to peel)
2 tbs apple juice (I got the Simply Apple - you don't want one that's super sugary)
zest of one lime
juice of 1/2 lime
chopped cilantro (the original recipe called for 2 tbs, I probably did more like 4?)
1/4 of a sweet white onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno papper, finely diced

The longer it sits, the better it will taste, is the thing.

Turn the oven on to 350. Sear the pork on all sides in a cast iron pan. Stick a meat thermometer in it. Curse your meat thermometer for apparently having stubborn pre-set temperature ratings, such that you can't actually set it to 145. Settle for the lowest setting, 158. Put pork in the oven. Remove it after what seems like 3 minutes? Seriously? Because your meat thermometer says it has reached a temperature of 158. Let it sit for half an hour because you have timed your dinner prep terribly. Or, you know, time your dinner better, and have a better method of roasting a pork loin properly (though mine did come out perfect, albeit room temperature).

Slice, and top with the apple salsa. Seriously fantastic.

But wait! you say. What is that gorgeous looking pile of salad? 
Funny you should ask. It happens to be the perfect accompaniment to this pork, and totally delicious in its own right. Kind of a pain the butt to make, and you end up with A LOT of it, so this might be a potluck/bbq/dinner party type thing, but I have to give you the recipe, because it's soooo awesome.

You need:

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tbs tamari (probably regular soy sauce would be ok too, but we happened to have tamari anyhow)
1/4 olive oil (use the good stuff)
1 tbs grated lemon zest (it's gonna take a whole lemon)
1/4 cup lemon juice (also a whole lemon)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oranges
1 one-and-a-half-pound head of red cabbage, cored and finely sliced
2 small fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup hemp seeds
~1 bunch cilantro (get a large bunch and use some for your apple salsa)

Here's where it gets to be a pain in the butt.

Preheat your oven to 350. Spread the pepitas across a foil-lined baking sheet (I needed two. I didn't line it with foil and man was it a pain to clean). Roast for about 6 minutes, then take out, toss with the tamari, and put back in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove, set aside.
Whisk the lemon juice and zest with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. No idea why the recipe felt it was necessary to do this in advance but sure.
Now you need to dice all cabbage, which is a pain. And the fennel. And, the most annoying part to me, pick all the cilantro leaves off the stem. SO TEDIOUS. Anyways, put all that in a very large bowl with the hemp seeds and about 2/3 of the pumpkin seeds. Or all of em, but honestly, it's a lot, and they make for a nice snack so hey. Peel the oranges, or ask your boyfriend to do it for you because your pork loin has already been out of the oven for 20 minutes at this point, and it's almost 12:30am and you're both really hungry. Once he's peeled them, use a sharp knife to slice the spines off each wedge (you know what I mean?) and maybe cut the backs off and basically try to get little chunks of orange without all the connecting tissue. Hurry up, I'm hungry. Throw that in the bowl, pour the dressing over the top, and mix it all together. It's a lovely blend of colors and flavor, and also a delightful combination of textures. From the Food and Wine Cookbook of 2013 (or maybe 2012?)? Which we've been using a lot lately and enjoying.

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