This dish could get really expensive if you don’t think it through. I made this for my birthday, because I deserve to have a great dinner without having to spend too much money or too much time making it happen. The trick is to get the right meat and the right combo of cheap salad ingredients which may vary according to where you are travelling.
*please excuse the lack of photos for this recipe – we were too busy cookin’ and eatin’ it that we forgot to take photos! We will recreate soon and post images for you to follow and enjoy!
Go to the butcher, whatever town close to where you are camping/backpacking should have a butcher. Go for a hike, drive your car, I don’t give a toss what you do, but get to the butcher and get the nicest full piece of pork fillet around. It does not need to be a huge chunk of meat. A good 300 grams piece is great. If not available improvise, but pork, not beef, not chicken: pork! 150 grams per person is more than enough but you as I said, you can make it as expensive as you want to…
Get a pear. A good pekham pear. Or any another pear, but make sure its really firm, it has to be hard, otherwise it will go mushy too quick and mush doesn’t caramelise properly and that’s gross.
Now make a salad, we made ours with tomato and avocado with a heap of lemon, since they were the cheapest fruits in the market at Noosa, and they are make a killer combo, but you can throw in lettuce and cucumber, or carrots… whatever, just make a salad.
– 300gr of pork fillet (full piece) cut in 2. NOT pork steaks!
– Spices. I use merken which is a Mapuche spice from Chile, which is basically red chillies smoked dried and grounded with a bit of cumin and coriander. You can use a mix of dry chilli, smoked paprika, a bit of cumin and some fresh coriander chopped really fine (please make sure is not wet, wash it, dry it properly and then chop it finely), and your result will come close enough to merken.
– raw sugar (always raw sugar, never bleached caster sugar)
– coconut oil
– pear, sliced thinly
You will also need
– paper towel
– tongs (to handle the meat, please don’t fork it, pinch it, or ruin it by using another tool)
- In a bowl, mix all the dry spices with a good pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar.
- Get the pork on your chopping board and dry it by patting it with the paper towel. If the meat is wet it wont seal properly, and you don’t want that. Well maybe you do, in such case, you suck.
- Proceed to rub the spice mix onto the pork fillet (or the substituted meat you decided to buy, cheap bastard). Make sure the entire piece is coated evenly.
- Heat up the oil. Take your time, as the oil needs to be hot, hot, hot for this to come up well. Just before the oil smokes (if it is already smoking you went too far, cool it down tiger), throw in the pork on and let it seal. By seal I mean let a fine but firm crust to develop on the side of the meat facing the heat, and then turn and repeat the operation, until all its sides are golden and crusty. Wonder why the sugar was there? That’s your fine but firm (a.k.a crispy) outside of the meat.
- Chuck the pear pieces into the pan, let them cook while you return your attention to the pork.
- Just keep turning the pork, and turning it, to keep cooking the meat and making sure no bits get burnt, or go black. Do the same with the pears.
Pork needs to be cooked thoroughly to be safe. You are not allowed to eat this medium or medium well, it needs to be well done. That being said, if you overcook pork it will get dry. Really dry. Pork is such a fine delicious meat when cooked on-point. How do you know when is time? Use all your senses, yep you heard me. The colour has to be right: the top and bottom of the meat need to be golden in colour, now look at the sides of it, they have to be full white, with absolutely no red or bright pink spots anywhere. Now check the consistency of the meat, it needs to feel firm through, use your tongs to feel it, use your fingers too by pushing down it should feel firm, fibrous. Lift it with your tongs to check it is not flaccid. If you think it is ready, get it off of the heat and onto a chopping board. Cut it in the middle into two pieces. If is cooked right through it is ready to serve, if it has pink spots or raw meat in the middle, it needs to go back in the pan and you need to keep turning it.
Serve the pork with the pears on top with the salad you made, and enjoy your piece of heaven.
Happy birthday to me!