Grilled pork brochettes
This recipe can be made in the oven or, if you’re lucky enough to have one, on a barbecue. The pork is steeped in a marinade of red wine vinegar, finely sliced onion, minced garlic, olive oil, pepper and any of various extra flavorings, then threaded onto skewers and cooked at a high temperature until browned and succulent. Once the pork is on the skewers, the onion from the marinade may be fried and served alongside.
For best results, use a tender cut of pork, such as tenderloin (filet mignon de porc in French). If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for five minutes before threading on the pork — this is to ensure they do not catch fire while cooking. If cooking in the oven, preheat it for a good 15 minutes to ensure it reaches a high enough temperature. If cooking over coals, wait until they are glowing red with a little bit of ash before grilling.
The recipe is highly adaptable. For a simple meal, serve the pork with sliced tomatoes, cucumber and red onion alongside. Here are some possible variations:
- For a Greek touch, serve with tzadziki (whisk a cup of yogurt, add grated cucumber, finely minced garlic, salt, pepper and a spritz of lemon juice) and warm pita triangles.
- For an Asian feel, substitute lime juice for the vinegar and serve with cucumber spears and satay sauce (stir 1 tbsp. warm water into 1 tbsp. peanut butter and add 1 tsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. Asian fish sauce, 1 tsp. lime juice, 1 tbsp. coconut milk, chopped lemongrass and a little hot pepper).
- For a more elegant meal, serve with steamed seasonal vegetables and/or a purée (at right, with asparagus spears and eggplant caviar).
The quantities below will serve two people.
14 ounces (400 g) pork
1 medium onion
1 large or 2 medium cloves garlic
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar (substitute lime juice for an Asian flavor)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus a little extra
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of herbes de Provence (optional, for a French flavor)
1 crushed cayenne pepper (optional, for added spice)
1/2 tsp. cumin (optional, for a Middle Eastern flavor)
1 tsp. minced lemongrass (optional, for an Asian flavor)
salt to taste
Cut the pork into cubes. Slice away any large bits of fat (but leave a little fat clinging to the pork for a juicier result). Transfer to a large bowl.
Peel, halve or quarter and finely slice the onion. Add to the bowl. Peel the garilc and mince finely or put it through a press. Add to the bowl.
Add the red wine vinegar. Stir. Add 2 tbps. olive oil, grind on some black pepper and add the additional flavoring of your choice. Stir well.
Cover the bowl with a plate and refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove the meat from the fridge half an hour before grilling. Transfer the pork cubes to a plate. Drain what’s left through a colander.
Preheat the oven to gasmark 8 (450 F, 240 C) or light the barbecue. If using bamboo skewers, soak them now. The easiest way to do this is to fill a rectangular baking pan with cold water and immerse the skewers.
Thread the meat onto the skewers, brushing off any extraneous onion or garlic. Place on an oiled roasting pan if grilling in the oven. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil.
Grill for about 40 minutes, turning the brochettes over a couple of times. The cooking time will depend on the level of heat and the size of the cubes. The pork is ready when it is nicely browned and the juices run clear (poke with a fork to check).
While the brochettes are cooking, heat a little olive oil in a skillet until sizzling. Add the onions from the colander. Fry until golden. Sprinkle with salt.
Salt the grilled pork only after it comes out of the oven.
Serve as described above, topped with fresh cilantro and accompanied by a chilled rosé or a smooth red. Serves 2.