Bon Appétit (July 2015)
Let's list off some things we loved from the past week:
1. We saw Taylor Swift in concert last night at Nationals Stadium in DC. She was amazing! Lorde made a surprise appearance! We screamed our heads off.
2. We both just read/reread To Kill a Mockingbird, in light of Go Set of Watchman's being published today. We'd forgotten what a beautifully written book that is. [Though we must confess to being very nervous about Watchman...]
3. We treated ourselves to some gelato from Dolcezza, in Dupont Circle. We had a scoop of Valrhona Chocolate Amargo and a scoop of Georgia Butter Pecan and it was phenomenal. Gelato in the summer makes everything right with the world.
Yep, those are some things we really loved about the past week.
Now let's talk about this pork.
We wanted very much to like this pork. It's got all the makings of a success for us: familiar ingredients, but with a new twist. In this case, that means seared pork with a honey-turmeric spice blend.
We were on board!
But we ultimately didn't really like much about this dish.
For starters, the meat itself: We were intrigued by the idea of a quick-cook method for pork shoulder. Usually that's a cut that requires low-and-slow braising to make it tender. This recipe has you pound slices of the shoulder thin and then cook them for about 2 minutes per side.
But -- at least for us -- this was a shortcut that failed. Our meat was chewy and tough and unappetizing, which is pretty much exactly what we would have expected from cooking pork shoulder for 2 minutes per side. We're certain we didn't pound it thin enough, but we hammered that pork until our arms were tired and the beating sounds became intolerable, so we did our best. The pork shoulder just didn't do it for us here, but we think this would be much more successful with a pork chop or a pork loin.
And the flavors of the meat didn't win us over either. Clay found it bland and thought the turmeric got lost; Zach just didn't care for the flavors.
The most random aspect of this dish, though, is the salad, a raw shaved-beet-and-carrot mix that's served on top of the meat. We're all for mixing textures in a dish, but this was too strange for us. The veggies taste fine: They're simply fresh carrots and beets with a little lemon and chives. Sliced very thin, they'd make a fine little picnic side dish. But here, it seems as if you took a cooked piece of meat and dumped some cold raw vegetables on top of it. It was odd.
So all in all, we thought this was pretty much a misfire.
Instead, let's just all imagine Taylor Swift reading to us from To Kill A Mockingbird while we eat some chocolate gelato...
What are your thoughts on rescuing this dish? Any tricks up your sleeve for turning this misfire into a hit?
A little honey in the marinade helps these cutlets caramelize, guaranteeing they’ll be nicely browned despite the super-short cooking time.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1½ teaspoons finely grated peeled turmeric or ½ ground turmeric
½ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 small beets, scrubbed, thinly sliced
3 small carrots, preferably with tops, tops reserved, carrots scrubbed, cut on a diagonal
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Pound pork between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to ¼" thick; season with kosher salt and pepper. Whisk garlic, turmeric, yogurt, honey, and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl; season with kosher salt and pepper. Place cutlets in a large resealable bag. Add yogurt mixture, seal bag, and toss to coat. Let sit at least 10 minutes.
Remove cutlets from marinade, letting excess drip off. Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high; cook 2 cutlets until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pork to a platter. Wipe out skillet; repeat with remaining cutlets and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil.
Toss beets, carrots, carrot tops (if using), chives, olive oil, and remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with kosher salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Serve pork topped with salad and sprinkled with sea salt.
Do Ahead: Pork can be marinated 12 hours ahead. Chill.