On Monday evening I had the lovely Abigail over for dinner and Doctor Who, (Dragonfire) and so I flicked through a couple of cookbooks and found these two interesting looking recipes. The smoked pork recipe came from the book The Islands of Greece by Rebecca Seal, which Alberto got me last year. The asparagus recipe came from the book Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour. Both are tasty and they go well together. I served them with some boiled, minted new potatoes and a little rocket salad. The smoked pork recipe is very nice and the creamy sauce compliments the smoky flavour of the pork. The harissa marinated asparagus works really well, although next time I think I’ll add a little more harissa as the end result here wasn’t very spicy.
For the pork:
400g of smoked pork (I used a smoked gammon joint. Although it was more like 750g, it worked well)
Olive oil for frying
1 onion, finely sliced
100ml of white wine
2 teaspoons of sun-dried tomato purée
60g (approximately 4 tablespoons) of mascarpone
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
For the asparagus:
6 stalks of asparagus each, woody stems trimmed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of clear honey
2 teaspoons of harissa paste
Grated zest and juice of a lemon
2 generous pinches of sea salt.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, over a medium heat, in a large saucepan.
Lightly brown the pork. Once browned add the onion and cook, over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes or so, until the onion is soft and starting to colour.
Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan.
Bubble the wine for 8-10 minutes until slightly reduced, then add 100ml of it water.
Turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, checking, and stirring, occasionally. Once the meat is tender, remove the lid and simmer for a further 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. (The may not be necessary, depending upon how much liquid is left after the initial cooking time.)
Remove from the heat and stir in the sun-dried tomato purée, mascarpone, parsley and black pepper.
Return to the heat and slowly bring back to the boil, simmering for a couple of minutes before serving.
For the asparagus, put the olive oil, harissa, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice and sea salt in a small bowl and mix well until the honey has dissolved.
Place the asparagus in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade. Leave to marinate for half an hour.
Heat a large frying pan or griddle pan over a medium-high heat, add a little olive oil, and fry the asparagus for 8-10 minutes until cooked through.