Sunday, September 12, 2010

Carmela Soprano's Peppered Pork Tenderloins and Anna Sultana's Roast Pork, Maltese Style

I just got through reading Julia Powell's latest book Cleaving.  The subtitle says "A story of marriage, meat, and obsession".  

The emphasis was on the meat.

It wasn't pretty.

I know myself well enough to know I shouldn't read anything scary before I go to sleep.  Now I know I shouldn't read butcher-focused books, either.  All that talk of how to cut up cows, pigs and poultry...

Oy, such dreams.

But they sure made me hungry for some meat.  

Back to Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos.  That gal may have had her problems with Tony and the kids, but she hasn't failed me yet.  

Yep, she has a good meat recipe - Peppered Pork Tenderloins.  It's a nice simple recipe.  

Trim and tie like a roast to even the thickness
2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt 
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
Add the meat.
Cover and marinate up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Place the broiler pan 4 inches from the heat.
Grill or broil about 15 to 20 minutes, turning with tongs.
The meat thermometer should be inserted in the middle
and read 150º to 155º F.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board.
Cover with foil and allow to stand 5 minutes.
The temperature continues to rise 5 to 10 degrees as the meat rests.
It'll be pink and juicy.
After removing the string, carve the pork into diagonal slices.
Fan out on a serving platter.  
Serve warm or at room temperature. 

I know.  It could just as easily have been called Mustard Pork.  Carmela went for alliteration.  

The pork can be either cooked over a medium-hot charcoal fire or a gas grill or under a broiler.
With the kind of weather we've been having, I went for the broiler. 

Carm is great at presentation.
Ma wasn't. 

Maltese are not vegetarians.  Malta has been known for centuries for its high quality pork.  D. H. Lawrence, in his book Sea and Sardinia talks about the great bacon he had in Malta.  
Okay, we can do bacon.   

But cooking regular, uncured meat - be it beef, pork or poultry - was not Ma's thing.

Maybe it wasn't her fault.  My Maltese cookbooks have recipes for cooking rabbits - lots of rabbits.  And I did find a recipe for roast pork.  
A 2 1/2 pound roast is baked for about 1 1/2 hours in a hot 400º oven.  Forget pink and juicy.

When we were first dating, Paul was invited to dinner at my parents' home.  He asked me what we were eating.  I didn't know.  I asked Ma.  She just looked blankly and said, "Meat."   

Good enough.

Would I make Carmela's Peppered Pork again.  Oh, yeah.

Sorry, Ma.

Another recipe down.  Forty-six more to go.

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