Spiced pork and a crunchy, fresh salad

I’m always on the look out for attractive recipes that use protein sources I don’t usually cook with – either vegetarian or meats I’m less familiar with, such as pork and venison. An attractive recipe, to me, is one that includes lots of seasoning (fresh herb or spices) but is quick and easy to prepare. It also helps if the finished dish is colourful so it’s a feast for your eyes as well as your stomach! And this recipe was exactly that.

I loosely followed Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals recipe and I even kept in the tortilla in the salad, which isn’t strictly in our diet plan, but it was wholewheat and I used as little as I could.

It definitely took me longer than 15 minutes, but it’s still a great weeknight meal – and if I made it again I could forego the aesthetics and just make a regular salad to take out the wheat factor, or just toast one tortilla and add it to the salad as (somewhat flattened) croutons.

I don’t know if I would call this ‘jerk’ pork – although there were a good few spices to give it a great taste as you’ve seen I’ve called it spiced as I think this is what it was. When I was making the pork sauce I did have to play around with the flavour quite a bit to get it how I wanted it, so be prepared to do the same – this may allow you to get closer to a jerk flavour if that’s what you’re looking for.

In an effort to counteract the sin that was tortillas, I omitted the yoghurt Jamie suggested as topping and instead used a refreshing glass of lemon water to counteract any heat.

Ingredients (serves 2):

Salad:

  • 1 corn on the cob
  • Up to 3 tortillas
  • Half a romaine lettuce or two big handfuls of salad leaves
  • 1 punnet of cress (or just up the salad leaf amount)
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes
  • Half a lime
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pork and spicy sauce:

  • 250g pork fillet
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp runny honey
  • 1 red chilli (or more, if you like heat)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 – 4 tomatoes (regular, or double this for cherry tomatoes)

What to do:

A bit of prep:

  • Put a griddle pan on high and add the corn, turning occasionally throughout your cooking to give a nice charred appearance to the corns.
  • Arrange tortillas in an ovenproof dish to give the salad ‘bowl’ effect, and put them in the oven at Gas 4/180C to crisp up for 6 minutes or so.

Onto the meat:

  • Cut the pork into as many pieces or slices as you like. As I’m quite unfamiliar with cooking pork I preferred thinner slices to be sure it was cooked properly – Jamie Oliver suggests about 8 pieces (cut in half, then cut the halves in half again etc, to give even sized pieces).
  • Flatten each piece before rubbing salt, pepper and ground coriander onto each side.
  • Put a frying pan on a medium high heat and add a tbsp of olive oil (or coconut oil, or your preferred cooking oil) and add the pork pieces. Turn regularly until golden and cooked through, being careful not to cook too long or too high.

Now for the sauce:

  • This bit is really easy. Get your blender/liquidiser ready and add in all the sauce ingredients listed above, saving a bit of coriander for garnish. Add a splash of water and blend until smooth.
  • This is where you can play with the flavours to get it perfect, but you’ll cook the sauce a bit later so bear in mind how they will mellow the flavours a little.
  • When you’re happy with the sauce, remove the pork from the pan and add in the sauce. Let the sauce boil for a moment then add the pork back in and keep the sauce at a gentle simmer while you prepare the salad.

And onto the salad:

  • Use your tortilla as the salad ‘bowl’ and add in all the salad ingredients: lettuce, cress, tomatoes and scrape the charred corn off the cob by just running a knife down each side, and add to the salad. (The corn will be hot so Jamie suggests holding at the top with a tea towel while scraping off the corn, which worked great.)
  • Mix together and dress with the lime and olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Serve:
The salad is ready, transfer the pork and sauce onto plates or serving dishes, and scatter with the coriander as garnish. Tuck in, and start by demolishing the salad bowl to add texture to the salad!

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