Down a long gravel road cocooned off by dangling spruce limbs that appear as spooky as a setting in a haunting Ichabod Crane drama, there, deadheaded on the serene shores of Willapa Bay, lives one of my dear friends, who is a cook of unerring capability.
My friend graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, one of the profession’s most prestigious culinary schools.
While he didn’t gallop into a chef’s career, he cooks for family and friends, peruses thousands of recipes and generally remains inspired by any occasion that allows him to pursue the yin and yang of one of the more inspiring challenges that most regard as both essential and creative.
My friend dropped by one recent pandemic day and shared a recipe that he declared to be, “the best pork dish I ever ate.”
Here is the recipe.
Pork Loin Marbella
2 pounds pork tenderloin
Salt to taste
1 cup dry sherry
½ cup pitted prunes, halved
½ cup green olives
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup capers and 1 tablespoon brine
¼ cup cider vinegar
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup chopped parsley
Season pork with salt and let rest for a few minutes.
Mix wine, prunes, olives, honey, capers and brine, vinegar, garlic, oregano and ¼ cup of olive oil in a work bowl. Marinate the loin in this mixture overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a skillet or a roasting pan, brown the pork on all sides until golden with the remaining olive oil.
Remove the skillet from the burner and pour the sauce over the pork. Shake the pan and deglaze. Transfer back to the hot oven. Continue to baste the meat every 10 minutes for about 30 minutes or until the loin registers 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the roast and rest the meat for a few minutes.
Return the pan without the meat to medium-high heat. Add butter and sauce, and cook until slightly reduced, about five minutes. Add in the parsley.
Slice the roast across the grain and spoon the sauce over the meat. Serve with some pan sautéed yellow potatoes, thinly sliced and sautéed in olive oil and garlic with a dash of turmeric. Brussels sprouts accompany this serving perfectly, as does a glass of cabernet sauvignon.