Sugar and Tamari Glazed Pork Loin : Mushroom Medley : Pickled Lettuce

18 Feb

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Let me sound like a late night infomercial for a second here. If you ever wanted to eat like royalty but still had to cook it yourself because you aren’t royalty (maybe you are, I’m not), this dinner, if you like pork, might be the answer and it takes about 15 minutes to make. When it comes to cooking efficiency and flavor intensity, asian cuisine always comes to the rescue… italian cuisine could also come to the rescue and perhaps many others but let’s stay focused, we can talk about other cuisines in another post.

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Pork of great quality at the local store. Not frozen, just beautiful and fresh looking. I’ve talked about mushrooms in the past and how great they are here in Vancouver, so I will repeat myself and say, these mushrooms are incredible, so delicious. Beautiful iceberg lettuce and green onions. Organic everything.  I couldn’t resist to put together a quick weekday dinner, take some photos and hit the publish button, specially since I’ve been MIA (again) for a few days.

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I’ve been working on another recipe that involves trout, and I ran into a couple of problems (ok, I burned the thing) so I decided to postpone that post until I find another beautiful trout. I went looking for one today, and no luck. They have the most amazing rainbow trouts at the store, I just have to be patient. I could use another fish, but there’s something beautiful about these trouts (I’m literally hypnotized by them) and you can buy them whole, so I’ve been practicing deboning and filleting them. I’m a little less destructive now.  Anyway,  back to the pork loin. Take that umami factor, then add sweetness, saltiness, garlickiness(?) sourness, and what do you end up with? a 20 minute royal dinner. I told you. And here’s how:

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Ingredients (makes 2 servings):

1 fresh and beautiful medium or small pork loin
1 green onion, root bit removed, thinly sliced
1 or 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 or 2 cups of assorted mushrooms (trumpets, chanterelles, shiitake, whatever you like)
1 or 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp sugar (honey, maple syrup would be really nice)
3 Tbsp Soy sauce or Tamari Sauce
2 Tbsp of Rice vinegar, I used white wine vinegar, it’s what I had
3 or 4 cups of iceberg lettuce leaves, any lettuce could work, bok choy!
Salt

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1. Salt the loin (liberally) and let to rest while you prep everything else. Doesn’t matter if it’s cold. We’re gonna cook it and all will be well in the end. Oh, you can cut the loin in half crosswise so it will fit the pan. Let’s continue.

2.  To make the pickled lettuce. Get the lettuce leaves in a pot, with the vinegar and half the butter. Medium heat, covered. The vapor will wilt it, this cooks rather quickly, so keep an eye on it. Once the pot’s steaming. Cooking for about 5 minutes or until wilted, but not mushy. Stir to mix butter, vinegar and lettuce. Set aside.

3.  Make the mushroom medley. Add butter, mushrooms and sprinkle some salt on a pan, over medium high heat. Brown the mushrooms and the butter for something like 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

4. Searing the pork loin. Add enough vegetable oil to a pan to coat the bottom, preferably a stainless steel pan so you can later deglaze the fond. Brown the pork loin on all sides getting a nice caramelization. If the pork loin was cold from the fridge, it won’t cook at the center when the surface is perfect. If you have a thermometer, use it. Insert the tip and get a reading at the core. I was at 8 degrees celsius (about, 46F, pretty cold) even when the outside of the meat was already cooked. There are 2 things you can do. You can finish in the oven which is pretty standard. But I was feeling too lazy tonight. I finished on (in?) the pan. Here’s how:

5. Finishing the meat on the pan. Once the surface of the loin is nice and browned, remove the loin form the pan. Remove excess oil from the pan. Return the pan to the stove. Deglaze with some water, a couple of Tbsp would do. Make sure all the brown bits come loose. Lots of steam at this point. Cleaner pan too. Reduce the heat to medium low. Return the loin pieces to the pan. Cover the pan. This is the most important part, because we want to finish the loin by steaming it. Lots of the juices from the meat will play part in this awesome phase helping with the steam generation. Give it like 10 minutes. I adjust the stove temperature just so I can keep steam going, add more water if it needs it, but only little by little. We’re not making soup.  Again, the thermometer comes out again, does its thing and if it reads around 57C or 135F you should be good. I took the meat off the stove earlier, probably at around 54C, it will continue to heat up by a few  degrees, the carryover heat does the final bit of work. If you don’t like the loin slightly pink at the center, then leave it on the stove until it reaches 57C – 58C.. it will be 60C after you remove it from the stove. This all might sound a little tricky, or complicated, but it is simple and repetition/practice helps.

6. The glaze. Here is my favorite part. The’s a bit of really flavorful juice on that pan by now. Add the soy sauce, the sugar, and reduce away on medium high heat. Toss in half the spring onion slices and the garlic. Stir, let it all bubble up and reduce until syrupy. If it goes too dry, add a little water, if it’s too water, reduce some more. Takes a few minutes, but it’s fan to watch. And the smells of asian cooking will fill the house and appetites will get all worked up at this point.

7. Coating the pork. Return the pork loin piece to the pan, and glaze them. Coat them, making sure to let them rest in this syrup for a little bit, while you get ready to plate.

8. Plating. Add the pickled lettuce and the mushroom medley to the plates, by now, the glaze will be slightly firmer because is not as hot. You can coat the meat again, and then transfer to a cutting board.

9. More plating. The pork should have had enough time to rest by now, so you don’t run the risk of cutting it too early and all the juices running out. So, using your best and sharpest knife (I’ve destroyed many wonderful pieces of meat using dull or serrated knives) Slice the pork loin and serve according to your liking.

10. And more plating. The remaining glaze in the pan won’t go to waste. Add a little water, bring the pan back to the stove, heat up the liquid, reduce quickly, and drizzle the sauce over your mushrooms and lettuce. Garnish your plates with the reminder of the green onion slices. And done. You’re eating like royalty.

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37 Responses to “Sugar and Tamari Glazed Pork Loin : Mushroom Medley : Pickled Lettuce”

  1. El Oso con Botas February 18, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    Tiene una pinta estupenda y las setas no se quedan atrás. Tengo que probar esa lechuga en vinagre

    • That other cook... February 18, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      Gracia Oso! espero que la encuentres de tu agrado. Las seta aqui en Vancouver son estupendas, y pescados y mariscos ni hablar :) Muy contento de verte por aqui! cuidate!

      • El Oso con Botas February 18, 2014 at 8:36 am #

        Gracias a ti. Lo de los pescados y mariscos lo he escuchado ya varias veces habrá que ir a probarlos algún día ;). Que tengas buena semana-

      • That other cook... February 18, 2014 at 8:37 am #

        Tu también! siempre esperando tu próximo post :)

      • El Oso con Botas February 18, 2014 at 8:39 am #

        uff este año voy lento, lento a ver si me muevo un poco más pero además el tiempo no ayuda. Bueno supongo que vosotros también menudo invierno que estaréis teniendo. Por allí arriba como se las gastan jejejeje

      • That other cook... February 18, 2014 at 8:43 am #

        jejeje :) el invierno aquí pues frio pero no tan frio como en el este de los estados unidos, esos si lo están pasando pero muy mal. Aquí la temperatura esta al rededor de los 5-8 grados. Eso si, aquí llueve casi que todos los días, pero la lluvia me gusta, todo esta verde, y mucha nieve en las montañas.

  2. Darya February 18, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    I was reading about pickled lettuce in a Dickens novel recently (Martin Chuzzlewit) and wondered what it might taste like. I am sure back in England in the middle of the 19th century it was different, but yours certainly sounds delicious. And the whole dish is so elegant and sounds delicious. Love it!

    • That other cook... February 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

      thank you Darya! :) Yeah, i wouldn’t know about 19th century english cooking but I bet it has come a long way since then :) Hope you make this and let me know how it goes if you do please, take care

  3. Anonymous February 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    Pickled lettuce sounds sooooooo amazing!!!! Hope your doing well!!!!

  4. The Healthy Epicurean February 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    What a delicious-sounding combination…

  5. ladyredspecs February 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    Your meal looks beautiful!!

  6. Patty Nguyen February 19, 2014 at 3:35 am #

    Your food always looks gorgeous, Paul. Would you let me in on the secret to your lighting? It’s always spot on!

    • That other cook... February 19, 2014 at 7:12 am #

      Patty, thank you! Im glad you like the photos. Of course I can go over some of the lighting and what gear I’m using. First, I’ve taken all these photos at night using a flash (speedlite) unit mounted on my 5d mark II canon. Ok, so far, an SLR camera, and a decent flash unit. Second, I shoot most of my photos using a 50mm lens. I’ve used 80mm as well, but it is harder to use because you have to be further away from the food. I’ve also done a 70mm macro for specific shots in some of my older posts but I rarely use it. I like to light the food from the side, or if possible 3/4 from the back, like most window lighting.. when we eat by a window, that’s who food is presented to us, never lit from the front. I use a couple of bounce surfaces, here in the hotel, there’s a painting on the wall, and i just hang a white towel over it, and makes a pretty decent bounce surface for the flash light, and then I have a big book that I position next to the food, I open it and it sort of stands by itself, the pages are mainly white, so it adds some fill bounce on the opposite side of the food from the wall towel. These didn’t need any photoshop tweaking. I take most of the photos at f-stop 9 or higher, I like everything sharp, but I sometimes like that softer look of wider open shots, I would shoot at 5.6 or 4 sometimes…less makes the depth of field a little to shallow and a lot of the image goes soft, and I don’t like that so much. White balance is super important, I’m lucky my bounce surfaces are pretty white, so I have little white balancing to do, but when I shoot near any fluorescent or tungsten lighting, which is when I shoot near the stove, also using the flash, I have to play with the white balance a bit more because unappetizing colors tend to show up.. like weird green and yellowish casts on the photos. I also take a lot of takes, and then spend a while selecting the better ones I like the most. I don’t use a tripod when shooting with flash, and I keep the room on the dark side, no bright lights, not tv. Hope this gives you an idea of what I do to take the photos, and I will be happy to answer any questions you have :)

      • Patty Nguyen February 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

        Paul, you’re wonderful for writing such a thorough response! Thank you so muchI normally shoot with natural light, but I’ve used my Nikon SB910 before for a few shots. I’ll have to practice more with it since natural light limits me to Sunday morning sessions! I switch between the 24-70 and 105 lenses. I’ve been loving the macro lately but I have to step back sooo far! Plus I’m only 5’2″ so I’m climbing on all sorts of chairs to get more height. Thanks again so much, Paul. I really appreciate your advice!! :) :) :)

      • That other cook... February 19, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

        anytime Patty, i too have to climb on top of the kitchen counter every now and then :) With limited light, another option is to shoot on a tripod and do longer exposures, it’s actually fun to photograph a gas stove like this, the flame looks pretty awesome… What I like about using the flash is that I can totally freeze time and get pretty crisp images without a tripod, and I love getting those shots of frozen time with falling things, or spattering oil… its all a lot of fun, and the camera gets pretty greasy sometimes hahah

      • Patty Nguyen February 19, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

        Oh yes, I’m constantly wiping food off my camera! Haha, so glad I’m not the only one!

      • That other cook... February 19, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

        you’re not alone!!! :)

  7. Fae's Twist & Tango February 19, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    Paul, I am speechless. Your photography is purely awesome, but also the subject has to be of value to reflect that. Which brings us to your cooking. Foods you create and plate are so beautiful and delectable, that I am in awe and speechless. Wow!

    • That other cook... February 19, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      Fae, coming from you, who I admire and respect in all aspects of cooking and blogging means a lot! thank you so much :) (I’ve stolen and gained so much by reading you, you have no idea hahah) Take care, Fae!!!

      • Fae's Twist & Tango February 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

        Thank you, Paul. You are too~ kind and too~ generous with your words. :D

  8. Amanda February 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    This dish is such a masterpiece. The components are each given such care, but the recipe is very accessible and you explain it well. Thank you for sharing this. Las fotos son muy bonitas y gracias por explicar tu metodo. I cannot wait to try my hand at pickling lettuce or bok choy. You really have an amazing thing going here. It’s also cool that your commenters are some of my favorite bloggers out there. Abrazos!

    • That other cook... February 19, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Gracias Amanda! encantado de que te haya gustado!! Me entretuve un monton cocinando esto, es un plato sencillo pero divino y mucho mas facil de “bloggear” que otros, tampoco tome muchas fotos del step by step, pero es que a veces entorpece con la labor de cocinar :) We do share some really amazing blogger friends in common! I like this community of cooks, it’s super fan and I learn so much from everyone. Cuidate mucho Amanda!

      • Amanda February 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

        Gracias por contestar! Me imagino que te hayas trabajado mucho en el step by step, pero de verdad es un plato divino. Ahora quiero cocinar mas setas. Anoche cocine un portabello con una pequena arepa colombiana encima para lograr una textura diferente. Fue raro, pero delicoso!

      • That other cook... February 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

        divino y ahora me provoco comerme una arepa con carne “mechada” hahahah :) no se si aqui en vancouver vendan harinapan hahha

  9. StefanGourmet February 19, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    That pork looks beautifully cooked! (I’d just cook it sous-vide to get a very similar result, but I like your technique as well.)
    P.S. Trout it one of the most difficult fishes to fillet because it is so slippery.

  10. Karen February 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

    I just cooked an Asian dish last night but I’ll be trying your meal very soon. I like your tip about steaming the pork if it needs additional cooking to bring it up to temperature. I think your tenderloin is perfectly cooked.

    • That other cook... February 22, 2014 at 5:48 am #

      thank you Karen! Yeah, when I’m feeling too lazy, I deglaze and cover the pan to finish cooking pretty much anything without having to go in the oven. Take care!!!

  11. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward February 21, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    I feel that everyone has said it all… but I echo the impressive quality of the photographs and recipe preparation. Wow, Paul; well-done.

    • That other cook... February 22, 2014 at 5:46 am #

      thank you Shanna!!! I’m super glad you liked the photos and the recipe! it was really fun putting this post together :)

  12. Sofia // Papaya Pieces February 21, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

    I’ve made a roast chicken for dinner and had that, I thought I couldn’t eat anymore till I just saw your dish, here… It looks fabulous and am taking note for next time I have pork tenderloin and mushrooms.

    • That other cook... February 22, 2014 at 5:45 am #

      Thanks Sofia! I need to roast a chicken soon, that’s probably my favorite thing to make in the oven :)

  13. Jess February 26, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    This looks absolutely divine, Paul! Your photo’s are so amazing- I’m taken aback everyone I read your blog and recipes! Fantastic post :)

    • That other cook... February 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      thank you so much Jess! I’m gonna try to post more frequently too, I’ve been a little lazy or… busy moving countries for work reasons :)

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