“The playwright Edward Albee has characterized [the suddenness of the appearance of fruits and flowers in evolutionary history] as 'that heart breaking second when it all got together: the sugars and the acids and the ultra violets, and the next thing you knew there were tangerines and string quartets.”
At this time of year, I am usually enjoying my annual visit to my family in Australia. Thanks to Covid19 memories and some imported fruit will have to suffice this year.
I've had a massive craving for pineapple, lychees, pawpaw and passionfruit and I'm lucky enough to be able to get hold of some locally and at very reasonable prices. Though who knows what will happen to import prices post Brexit....
I'm also a fan of fruit with savoury dishes- I know it's a bit of a Marmite moment for some people, for me, definitely a lover not a hater.
One of the best things about using fruit with or in savoury cooking is that it adds a level of complexity to a dish that doesn't take hours of cooking or fussing. Fruit offers a flavour profile that is more than the sum of it's parts.
Put most eloquently by the Edward Albee quote in the subtitle. So for some tangerines and string quartets try some of my simple recipes below.
Pineapple and Pink Peppercorn Salsa
Half a small pineapple ( approx 200 grams ) peeled & chopped into chunks
2 tablespoons of pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of vinegar
Add the sugar and vinegar to a small saucepan and heat on medium until sugar dissolves, Add the pineapple and peppercorns, stir and cook until glossy and fragrant. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I serve mine with jerk chicken or lamb and if serving at room temperature, some chopped coriander/cilantro is delicious. Refrigerates for a couple of days but best eaten fresh.
Pork Loin Steaks with Prunes
Pork and prunes are a classic pairing but this sauce works well over pretty much any meat and good over green veggies. I serve these with tenderstem broccoli
4 lean pork loin steaks, room temp
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
100 grams of pitted prunes, roughly chopped
125mls of cream/medium sherry
1 heaped tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 heaped tablespoon of grain mustard
50 mls of double cream
butter, olive oil, salt and pepper, water
Heat a knob of butter and a tablespoon of olive in a medium saucepan, add the chopped onion and cook on a low-medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the prunes, sherry and a little water to cover and cook until prunes and onions are soft. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the mix.
Use a large frying pan, some olive oil and butter to brown the pork steaks on both sides, a couple of minutes on each side depending on how thick your steaks are but leave them on the just medium side. Remove them and allow to rest while you finish the sauce. Put the puree into the frying pan you used for the steaks and heat, adding the mustards and the cream. Stir and allow to thicken. Add the pork back into the pan. Coat with the sauce .Taste and add salt and pepper and serve with mash and green vegetables.
You may be familiar with the Thai/Chinese red cooked duck and lychee curry, for a quick midweek version try dusting a duck breast in a mix of salt, pepper and Chinese five spice powder. Sear the breast in a frying pan until just cooked, remove and rest. Put a tablespoon of ready made curry paste in the same frying pan cook for a few minutes the add in a can of lychees, half the syrup and half a can of full fat coconut milk. Cook until thickened. Add a squeeze of lime if you have some. Adjust seasoning and serve with the duck breast over steamed rice. If you don't have any curry paste to hand, pepper, coconut milk, lime or a shot of vinegar along with the lychees will also delight.
It's getting those lovely, sweet, salty, deeply perfumed combinations in balance that make for a perfect fruity experience. Experiment foodists!
LOVE FOOD X