Spanish cooking is something I am becoming more and more acquainted with as one does a new friend; everything is so fresh and new yet becoming more and more comfortable with each adventure. I scanned through a couple Spanish cookbooks and a Basque cookbook this week. And the largest difference that popped out initially was the way Basque fare offers a more relaxed straightforward approach.
I am no Basque expert but the braised pork loin idea definitely appealed to my sensibility. When I have more time I don't mind pretending I have a French mustache while bones are roasting and stock is simmering away for hours on end. But my sensible alter ego reminds me I grew up on humble honest vittles and that must never be overlooked. My curious nature screams at me to modify as I did with the side dish since moving water always stays fresh.
The Basque milk braised pork recipe is one that crosses lines into Italian cuisine as well, but the spices are most definitely Basque in their approach. I can smell the paprika wafting out of the pot now if I think about it enough and the pseudo- Basque flavors of the the seared celeriac and soybean salad with sherry vinaigrette. May your inner Basque chef feel at home with your cuisine in the near future.
Milk Braised Pork Loin
1 1/2 # pork loin
2 1/2 C whole milk
2 1/2 medium Spanish onions roughly chopped
1 shallot quartered
3 red pimento peppers cored and quartered
2 T lard or shmaltz
1 T Spanish olive oil
4 T white wine such as Gewurztraminer
salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and cinnamon for seasoning the loin.
Season loin liberally and let come to room temperature. Cook in heated large heavy pot with melted schmaltz and oil for about 6 minutes turning often to achieve even sear. Add onions, shallot, peppers, and milk and cover pot. Let cook for about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove pork loin from pot, deglaze pan with wine, and puree contents of pot to make sauce for the loin. Water can be added to the sauce if consistency is too thick.
Seared Celeriac and Soybean Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
1 # celeriac peeled and cut into matchsticks
2/3 C shelled soybeans
1/2 finely diced onion
1 garlic clove finely diced
3 T cream sherry
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T Spanish olive oil
3 T fine sugar
2-3 T lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
Saute ingredients in extremely hot pan approximatley eight minutes constantly shaking ingredients until you begin to see some browning. Reduce dressing slightly in a pan to thicken and cook off alcohol. Enjoy salad served warm with thoroughly stirred dressing on top.