Is it not splendid when you have a guest to stay who cooks delicious things for you? A fine example is Ken, a chef from Sydney, who prepared this splendid dish full of most of my favorite things. He even finished it off with a healthy splash of truffle oil, which I have omitted from this version, but please express yourself,
I recently visited my wife in New York City, and ended up having a fantastic time visiting some of the amazing restaurants that were back up and running after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Our friends Dan and Katie introduced us to the wonder of North End Grill and its chef, Floyd Cardoz. If you ever get the chance, go and try their tripe crostini if it’s on the menu. You will not be disappointed, I don’t care if you despise tripe or not. It’s brilliantly done. A second visit to Takashi was luckily also in the cards. The best part was getting a chance to finally meet up with my friend David Shaw and his wife, Diane. Since I’ve already sung the praises of Takashi’s fare, I’ll kindly point you to David’s take on the evening.
Back to the recipe.
Only two more marathon dishes to go before I actually need to start making things from the cookbook again. It’ll be good to get back in the kitchen making Mr. Henderson’s food.
We were nearing the end of the marathon, and only two recipes were left to finish—this one and the pig’s trotter stuffed with potato. Since peeling off the skin of a trotter seemed tough, we opted to do this one first.
One of the frustrating things about not being across the pond is a lack of local, real butcher shop. Mr. Henderson calls for a hefty cut of pork loin still on the bone, skin on but not scored with the chine removed. Something that specific isn’t going to be sitting in the meat department of your local megamart, and I got mostly blank stares from the people working behind the counter. I opted for simple pork loin, no skin. It’s frustrating to settle, but sometimes you just have to make do with what’s available. The biggest problem with going this direction meant that I was going to have to throw cooking times out the window and just depend on internal temperatures. Nothing insurmountable, but who needs another wrinkle when you’re sleep deprived and standing in front of the range, right?
Since we couldn’t put the loin in a hot oven for as long as is called for, a simple searing on all sides was done with a few peeled and chopped onions, and then into a medium hot oven for a few minutes to properly cook through.
As the loins did their thing in the oven, Paul C. started making the dressing for the dish. In that bowl is a bunch of roasted garlic cloves being mashed with a tin of minced anchovies. Once the two were mashed down to a fine paste we added some capers, parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar and a dash of pepper.
About fifteen minutes before the pork loins were done we started on the turnips. Since we’d eaten, and eaten, and then eaten some more we decided that only one or two turnips were really needed. They were peeled, chopped, and boiled in salted water until tender.
A handful of rocket (AKA arugula) was added to the cooked turnips along with the dressing and tossed to combine.
Onto the plate went the turnip/arugula/dressing, and the loin was placed on top. The skin that I whined about not getting earlier was supposed to be crisped and added to the dish as a garnish. Since the only thing we had that was remotely close that could be used as a substitute was some of the crispy pig ear we’d made early. It was a fantastic stand-if, if I do say so myself.
It’s been almost a year since I ate this dish, but I can tell you all about the flavors from memory. The pork itself was nice, but nothing that I hadn’t had before. It was the combination of the pork with the turnip, greens and dressing that made it memorable. Salty, briney and fishy. Peppery turnips and arugula. Crispy, bacon-like ear. The sum of the parts was so much more than you could imagine.
I think I’ll make it again this weekend. With the truffle oil.
One down, thirty four to go.