Monday, December 6, 2010

Spiced Pork Agrodolce

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis's "Childhood Favorites" episode of her show Giada at Home. She used thick cuts of pork chops, while I veered toward tender pork tenderloin, sliced into medallions. For this recipe, we will make a fancy-shmancy sounding entree in a very simple manner. We will start by preparing the pork with a little spice from red pepper flakes, then creating the agrodolce sauce, the naming meaning agro (sour) and dolce (sweet), a tradition in Italian cuisine.

On a side note, I have a confession: I love the opera. It started as a need to fulfill an extra curricular class in high school but grew to a solid interest. I was involved in the school's Opera Society and our teacher focused on the a series in Dallas that spring, Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold, Siegfried, Die Walkure (remember the "w" in German is pronounced like a "v", sports fans example Dirk Nowitzki, and they are very emphatic with their pronunciation). We would study the libretto and learn the story in English, translating from German, and then go see each opera. He always wanted us to learn his favorite, Verdi's Italian opera, Rigoletto, but it was not playing that semester - and then I graduated. I recently saw Rigoletto is coming to Dallas this spring so I downloaded the arias and playing them tonight as I prepare this Italian pork dish.

Grocery List:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, pale green and white part only, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Start by mincing your fresh rosemary, garlic and scallions, then combine with the balsamic vinegar and honey in a mixing bowl, whisking well. Pour into a sauce pan over medium heat. Once bubbling, add the butter and whisk until dissolved and thickened, creating the glaze.

Cut your tenderloin into 1 - 1 1/2 inch medallions, season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sear your pork for 5-6 minutes. Flip and spoon 1/3 cup's worth of the glaze over the pork, then cover the skillet to help the meat cook evenly. Let cook for an another 6 minutes.

Once the pork is cooked through, arrange on a plate and spoon the glaze over top. Maybe it was the mood from cooking, maybe it was the classical music, or maybe it really was just that good but we really loved this recipe! The butternut squash risotto was a perfect compliment to this meal. Very successful Monday night in my kitchen, bon appetit mi amores.

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