Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mungo Jerry Pork Loin with Toasty Nuts

I've been up to my eyeballs in the backend of production for "That Night in the Garden", with all the associated pain which comes from independently producing a CD and then sending our baby off to the finishing school known as "Mastering and Artwork" at our production facility. So, I'm indulging in a little thumb-sucking and doing only creative things in the shop and kitchen. We've got peppers, lettuce and tomatoes coming in- plus an early pumpkin from the compost bin.

Today's Cooking With Mister C was inspired by what was in my fruit and veggie cooler, and it's been damned hot the past week, so I've been revisiting "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry. It was the first album my uncle ever gave me, but I've always been inspired by the line "just do what you feel" so I found Bing cherries and a mango that were languishing beneath a bunch of carrots and lettuce. Chopped in the blender with some ginger paste and it makes for a tart and interesting combination of fruity layers. Mango:Mungo/Cherry:Jerry and so you will know where my mind is of late. Nuts are the new good thing for men my age, so I added a couple of tablespoons of crushed cashews and pine nuts browned in olive oil as a crunchy topping for the pork loin I was going to grill. It's pretty, dark red and thick with plenty of sweet tang and the final punch of the ginger enhances the cherry and mango.

Served with my trademark Bossa Nova Salad, with fresh peppers and green beans from the garden and white rice.

Here's the recipe:

Mister C's Mungo Jerry Pork Loin with Toasty Nuts

Lean Pork Loin 3-5lbs
1 Cup Sweet Bing Cherries (Stoned, and as ripe as you can stand)
1 Medium Mango
1 Tbsp Ginger Paste (or chopped for the blender)
2 Tbsp Chopped Cashews
2 Tbsp Pine Nuts
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Pit the cherries but don't skin them, peel and slice the mango into large chunks and add these with the ginger to the blender or food processor. Chop only long enough to break up the cherries and mango, but don't puree- it needs to be thick and chunky, almost like salsa.

Set the sauce aside to do its thing, and heat up the olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. When it starts to smell like hot olive oil, add the nuts and begin toasting them in the pan; you have to be vigilant in keeping the nuts turned so they won't scorch. When your nuts begin to smell toasty and turn golden brown take them off the heat and let them sit in the remnants of the oil for a bit.

Turn the grill to medium heat or preheat to 400F in the oven with the baking rack set high in the oven, and use about 1/3 of the sauce to make a thick baste on the pork loin, concentrating on the top of the roast. Take the nuts and add to the sauce on top of the pork loin, pressing them in a bit as you go. Close it up and cook for 1 to 1.5 hours, no more basting needed. When the loin comes to 165F through the center it's ready. Let the loin set for 5 minutes, then slice. Add the remaining sauce to the slices and get ready for the compliments.

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