Grilled pork loin with Bittman glaze and broiled tomatoes

Clear skies, temperatures finally above the 60’s!–Tonight I just had to grill! But grill what?

When I stopped at Rain Shadow Meats last week, in addition to my pork fat I also got a pork tenderloin (from the same provider, Carlton Farms in Oregon). And last Monday when I was up at La Conner Flats in Skagit Valley, I got four beautiful early tomatoes and a nice head of lettuce. Plus, think back–do you remember Mark Bittman’s glazed lamb ribs?–I made more glaze than I needed, so I had a tiny bit stashed in the freezer (I’m cheap).

So let’s pull something together! This morning I nuked the glaze, then brushed the pork loin with it and put it in the fridge to marinate. Come dinner time, I cut the almost over-ripe tomatoes in half across the equator and salted and peppered them. Then I went out to my herb pot on the deck and cut a big sprig of “spicy hot” oregano, chopped up the leaves, and sprinkled them on the tomatoes. Finally, I drizzled the tomato halves with my Portuguese olive oil. Ready to broil.

Next, I oiled my gas grill and fired it up to the max. I slapped on the pork loin and grilled it on its four sides about three minutes a side, then pulled it off and tented it with foil while I broiled the tomatoes. (It had nice color but needed to continue cooking under the foil for just a few minutes. I like pork pink in the middle; otherwise, it gets dry.) Taste?–The glaze had a sweet note from the honey, and the spicier flavors (coriander, fennel, vinegar) worked really well with the smoke of the grill.

So then I broiled the tomatoes for a few minutes, watching the whole time and pulling them out as soon as the oregano crisped up and they got some color (I didn’t grill them because I was afraid that they would lose structure and fall into the fire. They were ripe!)

Then I put down a crisp leaf of La Conner Flats lettuce, topped it with some tomatoes, and added some big curls of Parmesano-Reggiano cheese. I added a few slices of the pork tenderloin, and done!–I had a very nice dinner.

On a day like today when the evening news is absolutely soul-killing, it is comforting to enjoy a simple meal made from beautiful ingredients that are the products of intelligence and labor and care. Bon appetit!

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Taylor Shellfish Grand Opening and other action at Melrose Market!

Melrose Market was hoppin’ yesterday when I went by to buy my pork fat! The big event was the Grand Opening of Taylor Shellfish Farms‘ new Seattle store. The grills were cranked up and covered with oysters on the half-shell, and at the other end of the booth, paper boats of curried mussels on rice were sailing quickly into the crowd’s hands. You had to move fast to get a serving, but it wasn’t hard to tell who the go-to guy was! (He looked like he was having a great time, but seriously, how do they get people to do these things?)

Both oysters and mussels were delicious! (I’m guessing that at least one of you out there is saying, but Judy, I thought you didn’t eat bi-valves . . .? Well, that was then! It turns out that there’s pretty much nothing that I can’t eat.)

So, I actually got through the crowd into the store and bought some beautiful frozen scallops. More cheerful people in there! Taylor Shellfish Farms is headquartered south of Seattle in Shelton, Washington, and they also have a store up north near Samish Bay in the Skagit Valley, which is one of the most beautiful places on the globe. (Stay tuned for more on that!) But it will be super to have them here in town too.

I don’t go to Melrose Market without making time to hang around and visit my other favorite shops. I told you a little bit about Rain Shadow Meats yesterday. Proprietor Russell Flint, known locally as a chef but also with ten years’ experience in butchery, opened up about a year ago. He offers beautiful meats and meat products from local farmers, labeled with the name and locale of the provider. And the staff can answer any question you can think of (and the people who shop here can think of a lot of them!).

Across the way, The Calf and Kid owner Sheri LaVigne was heading out the door, but Erin Burgess got me up to speed on their new cheeses. After tasting pretty much everything she mentioned (probably not a great idea to offer me samples), I ended up getting two. The first is a chevre from Yarmouth Farms up in Darrington (I told you about one of their other cheeses in my very first post!)  I also got a raw sheep’s-milk cheese called Queso de Oreja from Adna, also in Washington. This one is a hard cheese similar to a manchego. How do I know that?–Because Erin explained it to me! That’s why I stick with shops like these, staffed by people who love what they are selling. You get a great product, you get an education, you feel like you’ve been chatting with a friend. What a great experience! (Visit Sheri’s blog for a running account of her sixteen months or so ramping up the business–also great stories!)