Naughty pork fillet medallions in ginger and white wine sauce

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This is a quick and naughty version of a Parmesan dish called ‘La Rosa di Parma’, which is usually made with beef fillet, staffed with prosciutto crudo, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and cooked in a red wine sauce. To make my properly naughty version, I wrapped pork fillet in unsmoked streaky bacon and sage, I cooked it in white wine and ginger sauce, and served with pan-fried pak choi, fresh fennel, and maple syrup crispy bacon. I did say it is naughty, but in no way this dish will ever leave you disappointed or hungry at all. The dish comes from a mix of traditional Italian food, with some Anglicised flavours, and Asian ingredients. It would be difficult to put a pin on it; better to use a fork instead.

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This naughty pork fillet/tenderloin is pretty easy to prepare and takes reasonably little time. The hardest part was to find the cooking string, which I had to mooch off the butcher’s desk at my local supermarket. The ingredients are easily obtainable, at least here in London, almost any time of the year.

The original dish, La Rosa di Parma, is one of the town’s symbols, usually appearing on important occasion tables–that’s why it is made with expensive ingredients like the beef fillet, prosciutto crudo, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Lambrusco red wine, and Marsala wine. It truly encapsulates the city’s imperial heritage of Marie Louise in some of its endemic flavours, except the Marsala, of course. I opted for a more cost-contained version, still retaining some of the typical Parmesan ingredients.

I had to cheat using unsmoked bacon, because there was no pancetta, but their preparation remains similar enough to give you almost the same taste. I chose to prepare the pork with white wine and ginger, instead of red and Marsala wines, because this meat calls for a milder dressing than the beef fillet. Fennel and pak choi followed the same rationale to avoid overpowering the dish or covering the delicate intensity of this pork cut. The final taste is a soft, sweet pork main, glazed by a thin, spicy wine sauce, accompanied by a fresh green bite, candied up by the bacon crisps.

Naughty pork fillet medallions (serves 3)

1 pork fillet (whole)
12 unsmoked streaky bacon rashers
a few sage leaves
cooking string
2 tbsp olive oil
15 g butter
2 glasses of white wine
30 g fresh ginger
1 tbsp maple syrup

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Start with sealing the whole fillet on a hot pan with 1 tbsp of oil and the butter, at medium heat for about 5 minutes. Take it off the pan when it is golden all around and starting to get brown. Slice the fillet into medallions of the same thickness, about 3-4 cm–unless you need to serve some more cooked than others: in that case, slice accordingly.

Wrap each medallion with one rasher of unsmoked bacon (or one pancetta rasher, if you can find it), four or five sage leaves, and tighten all together with the cooking string. Once all medallions are prepared, put them back into the hot pan with your second tbsp of olive oil, at medium heat.

After a few minutes, when one side of the medallions is turning brown, raise to high heat, flip them cooked-side-up, and wash with the first glass of wine till reduced. Then lower again to medium heat and cook for another few minutes. When also the second side is cooked, repeat the reduction process with the second glass of wine. Add the ginger now, which you have pealed and sliced, with a couple of shallot rings that you will not serve.

In the meantime, you can start preparing the remaining bacon rashers in another frying pan. You will add the maple syrup only at the end, after you added salt and they are cooked on both sides. The syrup will caramelise the bacon and get it crunchy like a crisp. Slice the washed fennel, and start preparing the pak choi, washing it and separating the leaves.

Once the pork is cooked on both sides, the bacon wrap should also be pink ready. Take the medallions off the pan, leave the remaining sauce to char the pak choi in a couple of minutes at high heat. Serve hot. Eat. And feel guiltily satisfied. Naughty…

 

by Max

 

Saltimbocca alla Romana

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Saltimbocca are some of the fastest, easiest, and most succulent meat dish you can prepare. Their name, ‘jump-in-a-mouth’, kind of says it all… In Italy, we call them ‘the Roman way’ since at least Pellegrino Artusi’s description in his famous 1891 cookbook, even though they probably originated more to the north, in the town of Brescia. Nevertheless, across the country and around the world, this dish has now become one of the symbols of the food from Rome and Italy in general.

Saltimbocca alla Romana (serves 4)

600 g veal escalope
10 slices of Parma Ham
a few sage leaves
50 g butter
1 glass of white wine

Start with prepping the meat: beat it until thin–about 2 or 3 mm thick. I have used the bottom of a moka-pot, but you can use a rolling pin or even a meat pounder, but do not tenderise the meat with one of those spiky hammers, just flat it out. Then, cut the meat slices into smaller squares.

Once you have prepared the meat slices, cover each one of them with a prosciutto slice, in order to have the surface of the meat completely covered. Place one sage leaf and pin it with a tooth-pick going through all the way. Some people love the silky flavour of sage more than others; if this is you, then double the leaves on each saltimbocca slice you are preparing. You will not need to use any salt, as the prosciutto flavour will take care of that for you.composite_14566979392441.jpg

Once the prepping is done, melt the butter in a wide frying pan; when it starts to turn into small white bubbles, place your saltimbocca for a couple of minutes per side at medium/high heat.composite_14566989461332.jpg

After both sides have been cooked, turn them again with the prosciutto side facing up, add the wine at high heat and let it evaporate. After one minute, start placing the saltimbocca slices on the plates, while you let the wine sauce reduce. Dress your saltimbocca with a sprinkle of ground black pepper and the wine reduction sauce. You can serve them with pretty much any sort of side dish, potatoes, chips, peas and carrots, or a fresh salad.

by Max