Monday: Charred Eggplant with roasted tomatoes, arugula and grilled bread
Thursday: L.A. Burger with Wedge Salad and blue cheese and roasted potatoes
Friday: Roasted Salmon Niçoise
Satuday: Leftover Niçoise, Leftover chicken, Grilled Bread
Sunday: Grilled Pork Loin with Grilled Corn Relish and Heirloom Tomato Salad
“It took me all my life to learn how to salt a tomato”
- Eric Rippert (Yes, that’s a little precious, but he has a point)
“No chef’s ingenuity and imagination ever created a finer dish (than roasted corn)”
- Rex Stout
We are not sticklers for locally-sourced or organic everything.* But it was another week on the road for me, and with little time to spend on cooking, the local produce of Western Pennsylvania was our inspiration. We have, right now, tomatoes worth fighting for and the corn is still good. Boil the corn, cut up the tomatoes and dress them with a hint of garlic (minced), a drizzle of olive oil, a touch of vinegar and salt and you have a fine dinner, faster than McDonald’s can put an adulterated meat patty on cardboard with a pickle, ketchup, and mustard. Pair them with anything on the grill and you will be a hero – Grilled pork loin with corn relish and heirloom tomatoes (recipe below) will make you a super-hero.
*Standing offer: I will cook a steak dinner for anyone who can show me a non-organic piece of produce or meat).
As an extra, at the end of the post there’s a recipe for an updated wedge salad. It’s not really a wedge – that unmanageable block of iceberg – but rather several bite-sized piles of lettuce with a creamy blue cheese dressing, bacon, diced cherry tomatoes and shallots, some crumbled blue cheese and freshly ground black pepper. If you like to stick with vegetables for one or two days each week, like we do, this makes a full meal. If you can handle carbs, add some grilled bread. In addition, I would suggest a martini, which is what I was drinking at Morton’s when I ate the salad that suggested this recipe.
Grilled Pork Loin with Corn Salad and Heirloom Tomatoes
(Adapted from Lenny Rosso’s recipe in the WSJ. Rosso use pork tenderloin, but
I like the whole pork loin – get the butt end, not the rib end, it’s more flavorful)
Time: The time it takes to get charcoal ready to cook, plus 15 minutes
Supplies: (Feeds 4)
For the Grilled Pork
1 and ½ lbs. Pork loin (rib end – tastier than other end and won’t dry out)
Sea Salt (kosher will work)
Ground Black pepper
2 sprigs of rosemary
For the tomato salad
3 Large tomatoes cut into wedges (heirlooms are great, but Western Pennsylvania beefsteaks are perfect now – and we cut the wedges in half to make them bite-sized)
2 Tablespoons sliced scallions (about 1 and 1/2)
1 Teaspoons minced garlic (we used about 1/2 of a teaspoon)
2 Tablespoons chopped mint (or use basil)
3 Tablespoons olive oil (be careful here – use less, if you can, you don’t want to overdress)
½ Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch of salt, pinch of pepper
For the Corn Relish
3 Ears sweet corn shucked (we used 4 – we love corn)
5 Tablespoons olive oil (we used, maybe 2 and ½)
1 and ½ Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon minced garlic (we used ½)
2 Tablespoons minced shallots
Salt and Pepper
Light your charcoal.
Slice the pork loin into 1/2” rounds, brush with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and season on both sides with a pinch of salt and pepper and chopped rosemary. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
Shuck the corn
Slice the scallions
Mince the garlic
Mince the shallots
Grill the pork over medium-high until charred and cooked – about 6 minutes per side. (Your grilling over charcoal – exact time is not possible to give). Let meat rest 5 minutes or more before serving.
Grill the corn over medium-high, turning to get all sides charred. About 3 minutes. (Do not go much longer, or you will have dry corn)
Cut the kernels off the corncobs and put into a boil. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, scallions and shallots. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Add more seasoning, if needed, until it tastes good.
Serve the pork over the corn, or vice versa, with the tomato salad on the side.
Extra Mini – Wedge Salad
Ingredients: (Serves 4 for a meal, 8 for a salad course)
3-4 strips of bacon
1 head of iceberg lettuce (if it embarrasses you to buy iceberg, you can get the guy begging for money at the entrance to the shopping center to buy it for you for a few dollars)
12 oz. blue cheese (8 oz. for the dressing – 4 oz. to crumble)
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise (or use Plain Yogurt)
¼ Cup Sour Cream
Tablespoon Olive Oil
Dash of Sugar
¼ Cup diced shallots
1/3 Cup diced tomatoes (flesh of a large tomato or use cherry tomatoes)
Cook bacon in oven until crisp – let cool
Combine mayo (yogurt, if using), sour cream, pepper, olive oil, sugar. (And a clove of minced garlic, if you like).
Crumble 8 oz. of blue cheese and mix into dressing.
Cover and refrigerate
Mince the shallots and dice (small dice) the tomato
Cut Iceberg into rough ovals about 1” thick (i.e. layers of lettuce leaf about 1” thick)
Place 2 ovals of lettuce on individual plates, or place all ovals on serving platter, leaving a space in the middle for crumbled blue cheese.
Break the remaining blue cheese into pieces and place in center of platter or side dishes.
Spoon Blue Cheese Dressing over the lettuce (don’t smother – you want to see the lettuce)
Grind fresh black pepper over the salad
Sprinkle the salad with the shallots and tomatoes
Crumble the bacon and sprinkle over the salad.