Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Pork Loin with Sweet Onions and Fava Beans
Is that plate smiling? Maybe it's because it knows it's delicious.
This is a very easy and relatively quick dish, though it does require a bit of forethought to prepare the beans and let things marinate. It's easily multiplied to feed any number of people and much of it can be made in advance. For the meat I used a pork loin strip but a boneless pork chop would work nicely, too. I chose to keep the fava beans simple, barely cooking them and serving them chilled in a light dressing. They'd also be wonderful sauteed with a bit of butter.
Fava beans are a spring treat that can be hard to find sometimes. With canned and frozen beans of all kinds so readily available, it may not seem worth the effort to seek out and prepare fresh beans. I encourage everyone to give it a try, however. They really are a different experience, both in preparation and flavor. Personally, I enjoy the novelty of sitting in front of a pile of bean pods and popping the tasty bits out of their shells.
For the fava beans:
- Shell the beans from their pods. When buying, keep in mind that there are only about 5 beans per pod so you will need quite a lot.
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Blanch the beans for 2-3 minutes, then drain the water and cool the beans.
- When they are cool enough to handle, remove the waxy 'jacket' by gently peeling it away.
- Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for one hour.
Did you know that the FDA has lowered the recommended temperature to which pork should be cooked? Formerly 164 degrees, the official recommendation is now 145. No need to worry about a bit of pink in the middle! In fact, I prefer it that way.
For the pork and onions:
- Combine 2 tsp. white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and about 1 tbsp roughly chopped sage.
- Lay the pork on a piece of plastic wrap, spoon the mixture over, turning once, and wrap the meat tightly. Let it marinate on the counter for 30 minutes or in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Heat a skillet to medium high and place the pork in the pan. Cook on each side about 2 minutes, depending on thickness.
- Thickly slice a sweet onion. For a fresher taste, place the slices in the skillet whole and turn once to sear each side. For more caramelized onions, break the slices into rings and toss them often as they cook.