|Summer in April|
Apr 26th, 2006
Shauna over at Dietgirl had a brilliant bit yesterday about how the same temperatures would have people in Scotland walking around in shorts, while Australians were reaching for the fleecy sweaters. It's all in the expectations I guess. Here in Seattle if the thermometer looks like it's going to break 70 in April, even barely, it's officially time for pretending it's summer. So yesterday evening we did our part by firing up the grill for the first time, even though the evenings cool off really quickly and we had to eat inside. Doesn't matter, we charred meat! The barbecue season has begun!
A few days ago I caught Jim looking through one of my recent cookbook purchases, the very pretty Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health, by Nina Simonds. It's a good book and worthy of its own post, but for now I'll just tell you that I offered to cook whatever dish he picked out. He liked the look of the Jerked Pork with Pineapple Salsa, so when we decided to grill we decided to give it a try.
Since our celebration of faux-summer was fairly spur of the moment, I didn't have the time to really marinade the pork, but the jerk seasoning paste was spicy and aromatic enough that it was good even with a brief marinade time. I do plan on trying it again though for the longer time that the author recommends. The pineapple salsa wasn't going to happen as I didn't have any pineapple on hand, but I did have a mango that was stubbornly refusing to get ripe. So I served the pork with corn on the cob and a mango avocado salsa. The salsa consisted of one fairly crunchy mango finely diced, some finely chopped red onion, cilantro, half an avocado, 1 smallish tomato, and a mixture of lime juice, orange juice, cumin, and sea salt. The soft avocado and tomato nicely balanced the crunchy mango, and the dressy was nicely salty-tangy-sweet.
This is a very easy marinade that works well on pork and chicken and is definitely worth working into your summer grilling repertoire.
Grilled Jerk Pork Chops4 thick pork chops or center-cut cutlets
Jerk Spice Rub
1 small red hot pepper (or more to taste - Scotch bonnet peppers are traditional), seeds removed
3 tbsp minced scallions, white part only
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled
1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp dried
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
To make the spice rub add all ingredients to a food processor, blender, or mini-chopper and run until a thick paste forms.
Coat the pork with the spice rub, cover and let stand at room temperature for one and a half hours, or put in the refrigerator overnight.
Brush your grill rack with oil and grill the pork for about seven minutes on each side, turning often. Let rest for a few minutes after coming off the grill. Serve with mango or pineapple salsa.
-adapted from Spices of Life, Nina Simonds