Friday, 8 May 2020

Porco presa Ibérico con Mantequilla Jamón e Pedro Ximenez


Manna from heaven
This is the second instalment in my "armchair" blog where I give you a travel aspiration for when travel beckons again. In the oak-filled pastures of western Spain, home to the black Iberian pig, a distinct combination of terrain and tradition helps to produce one of the most dazzling mouthfuls of meat anyone could hope to enjoy – jamón ibérico de bellota.If your romantic mood is adventure, this is the meal for you. First, it’s a bit of a quest to find presa Ibérico de Bellota, an uncured cut from between the shoulder and the loin of black-footed Ibérico de Bellota pigs,so dont expect to source it close to home unlees you happen to reside in Andalusia or Portugal.But once you pull it together, you’ll be transported.The pigs are known for their huge appetite (wonder if am descended from these pigs!) and generate a large amount of fat,hmmmmm.The marbling is unlike any other pork you have seen and is sometimes referred to as the Wagyu of pork.

This is the perfect meal over which to make future travel plans.If there was ever a food that was sent to save us this would be it.In order to fully grasp the unspeakable glory of this dish, I need you to accompany me to an imaginary place.Close your eyes for a moment. Can you imagine yourself being in a warm sunny place.From Seville, you drive in the direction of Portugal. It's not long before you reach the edge of the Dehesa in Extremadura.The sun may be setting (darkness falls rapidly ),but even in the fading light the countryside is stunning, and there's something reminiscent of Britain — no doubt the rolling, oak-dotted hills that sprawl as far as the eye can see (and beyond, across the border, just a few miles away). Porco Presa, hot off the grill and blessed with the most magnificent of crusty-smoky sears. As you start slicing it into wide, wobbly, perfectly-pink ribbons, you whistle quietly to yourself—each slice is zebra-striped, like rock strata, with beautiful striations of sweet, sweet pork fat, marbling like you’ve never seen, guaranteeing that each and every bite will be as juicy and porky as the last.In those days when we could be social without the distance, your invited friends would have come to the kitchen to investigate that pervasive,distinctive aroma.Once they caught wind of what was going on in the kitchen, and when you sneaked them a bite they moaned with pleasure.See, the thing about this recipe is that it’s more than “really, really good,” it’s paradigm-shifting. It is bold and it is brash and it will make you a better cooker of meats and a better consumer of pork. Here’s why.First, there’s the dry rub. If you’re not on board with the whole marinades-are-mostly-bullshit, dry-rubs-rule thing, this should convince you. Instead of bathing the pork in some messy mixture of different liquids that aren’t ever going to penetrate beyond the surface of the meat, you rub it down with a crushed up mixture of hot smoked paprika, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, yellow mustard seeds and dried oregano that form the basis of an intensely aromatic, complex crust. Nice! Then there’s the cut. Unlike your classic pork chop, which is cut from the loin of the pig, these pork shoulder steaks are cut from a hunk of boneless shoulder. (Fair warning: You’re probably not going to find these packaged and ready to go in the pork section of the supermarket. Which means you need to either a) ask your butcher to cut ¾-inch steaks from a shoulder blade or b) buy a boneless piece of shoulder and cut it against the grain into said ¾-inch steaks yourself, which is really not a big deal.) It’s an extremely affordable cut that most people cook low-and-slow until it’s fall apart tender and shreddy—but that doesn’t mean that it has to be cooked that way. It has a lot of intramuscular fat, often referred to as “marbling,” which means it takes well to hot-and-fast grilling the same way a ribeye steak does, juicy and full of meaty flavour.

Porco presa Ibérico con Mantequilla Jamón 
e Pedro Ximenez

4 x 200g steaks of Ibérico pork presa
or beef rib-eye steaks


Flor de sal

1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons smoked paprika


FOR THE BUTTER

175g unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry
25g jamón Ibérico( or serrano or parma ham) finely diced

Place the butter in a bowl and whisk in the PX sherry and diced ham.
Season well well and reserve in a cool spot.
Place the meat on a tray and using the tip of a knife, lightly score fatty side of pork; season all over with salt.
Coarsely grind peppercorns, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, and mustard seeds in spice mill or with mortar and pestle; set spice mixture aside.
Heat oil in a small saucepan over low heat; add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and barely golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest, paprika, and reserved spice mixture. Let cool completely.
Rub marinade all over pork,massaging it well into the meat as you go. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
Let pork sit at room temperature 1 hour.

Prepare a fire in the barbecue,or heat a ridged grill pan over medium/hot heat.drizzle alittle oil over the the pork,then place over the hot coals oron the grill pan.Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side - the exterior will naturally blacken and caramelise to a crust,while the inside should be pink (the meat of Ibérico pigs is red and it is perfectly safe to eat it pink or even rare).Rest the meat for a few minutes before you eat,serve with the PX butter alongside.

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