I have always wondered why — apart from the fact that it tastes so good — the Spanish eat so much pork. Perhaps it originated as a knee-jerk reaction during the post-Moor period when the Spanish Inquisitors were roaming the country torturing anyone who didn’t conform to their particular brand of monotheism. Jews and Muslims who had converted to Christianity often lived in fear and proclaimed their new faith by publicly eating pork; The more enthusiastic converts would hang a ham or sausages above their door. Every time my dad goes back home he heads down to the old town and seeks out his favourite grill, just near the Mezquita (great mosque). There he sits and orders a great plate of sliced grilled pork loin served with two lively sauces: a fresh oregano and raw garlic sauce, and a red sauce made from piquillo peppers and chilli.
I now find myself following in my father’s footsteps.... Read more.
Put all the salsa verde ingredients in a food processor and blend for 1–2 minutes, or until smooth. Season to taste, pour into a serving bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Put all the salsa de piquillo ingredients in a food processor and blend for 1–2 minutes, or until smooth. Season to taste, pour into a serving bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
The pork loins can be chargrilled or pan-fried. To chargrill the pork, heat some barbecue coals so that you can only hold your hand 12 cm (4 1/2 inches) above them for no longer than 3 seconds. Season the fillets well and grill each of the four sides for 3 minutes each, then turn and cook each side again for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.
To pan-fry the pork loins, preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF/Gas 6).
Place 40 ml (1 1/4 fl oz) olive oil in a large, heavy-based, ovenproof frying pan over medium–high heat until very hot. Add the pork fillets and cook each of the four sides for 1 minute each, sprinkling each side with fine sea salt as you go. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook the pork for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.
To serve, cut the fillets into slices 2 cm ( 3/4 inch) thick and enjoy with the two salsas.
Extract from the book MoVida Rustica
by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish.
Published November 2009
368 pages, hardcover, 200 x 255mm