Pork, peanuts and pesto: a health­ful tri­fecta

The Hamilton Spectator - - FOOD - EL­LIE KRIEGER The Wash­ing­ton Post

This supremely tasty sauce takes the ba­sic con­cept of a pesto into a de­light­fully dif­fer­ent, boldly flavour­ful di­rec­tion.

With cilantro as its base, it could right­fully be con­sid­ered an Asianstyle vari­a­tion on chimichurri sauce. How­ever you char­ac­ter­ize it, it is lus­cious in its own right.

To make it, you whir both the leaves and ten­der stems of a bunch of cilantro in a food pro­ces­sor with the aro­matic dy­namic duo of gin­ger and gar­lic, a bright punch of lime juice and a hand­ful of roasted peanuts.

A pinch of crushed red pep­per flakes pro­vides a hint of heat, which you could cer­tainly in­crease if you like things spicy.

Peanut oil and toasted sesame oil, which add body and am­plify the peanutty flavour, are driz­zled grad­u­ally into the run­ning food pro­ces­sor to emul­sify the in­gre­di­ents.

The re­sult is a condi­ment so mouth-wa­ter­ing you will be com­pelled to put it on just about ev­ery­thing, so you might want to dou­ble the recipe to have ex­tra. (It will keep up to three days in the re­frig­er­a­tor.) It in­stantly el­e­vates sim­ply grilled foods — veg­eta­bles, chicken, fish or meat — and it is won­der­ful driz­zled lib­er­ally over eggs, pota­toes, av­o­cado toast or per­fectly ripe sum­mer toma­toes.

Here, its plat­form is lean pork loin, pounded into thin cut­lets that cook in min­utes on the grill. They are sim­ply sea­soned to let the bigflavoured sauce have the lime­light it de­serves.

Grilled Pork Cut­lets with Cilantro Peanut Pesto

This herb sauce is de­li­cious driz­zled on sim­ply grilled fish, chicken and veg­eta­bles, eggs, pota­toes or ripe sum­mer toma­toes. The chops can be cooked on an out­door grill as well.

Make ahead: The pesto can be re­frig­er­ated for up to three days.

From nu­tri­tion­ist and cook­book au­thor El­lie Krieger.

MAKES 6 SERV­INGS (ABOUT ¾ CUP PESTO)

For the pesto 1 ½ cups packed fresh cilantro, leaves and ten­der stems 1/3 cup un­salted, roasted peanuts 2 ta­ble­spoons fresh lime juice 1 tea­spoon minced gar­lic 1 tsp minced peeled fresh gin­ger root ¼ tsp salt Pinch crushed red pep­per flakes 3 tbsp wa­ter 3 tbsp peanut oil 2 tsp toasted sesame oil For the pork Six, ¾-inch-thick bone­less loin pork chops ½ tbsp peanut oil ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pep­per 2 tbsp un­salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, for gar­nish Cilantro leaves, for gar­nish

For the pesto: Com­bine the cilantro, peanuts, lime juice, gar­lic, gin­ger, salt, crushed red pep­per flakes and the 3 ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter in a mini food pro­ces­sor; pulse un­til finely chopped. With the mo­tor run­ning, driz­zle in the peanut oil and toasted sesame oil to form a blended pesto. The yield is about ¾ cup.

For the pork: Place the pork chops on a cut­ting board and cover with a piece of plas­tic wrap. Use a mal­let or rolling pin to pound them to a thick­ness of about ¼-inch.

Pre­heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the pork with oil and sea­son with the salt and pep­per, then grill un­til just slightly blush in the cen­tre and grill marks have formed, two min­utes per side.

Serve the pork with about 1½ ta­ble­spoons pesto driz­zled over each piece. Gar­nish with peanuts and cilantro leaves.

Per serv­ing: 310 calo­ries, 32 grams pro­tein, 4 g car­bo­hy­drates, 19 g fat, 4 g sat­u­rated fat, 80 mil­ligrams choles­terol, 290 mg sodium, 0 g di­etary fi­bre, 0 g sugar

DEB LIND­SEY, FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

The sauce is so mouth-wa­ter­ing, you will be com­pelled to put it on just about ev­ery­thing.

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