Seared marinated pork fillet
Pork fillet is such a great cut of meat. It’s lean so you don’t get that urghh feeling when you’ve eaten something too rich, it has a creamy mild flavour and when cooked right, a tender soft bite. Compared to a similar cut of beef or lamb it’s a tiny fraction of the price.
But, pork can be tricky too cook. Pigs are sensitive sweet animals and if they’ve had a quiet happy life then their meat tastes stunning. I’ve realised through my hit and miss efforts at making various pork dishes that it’s truly about the quality. It’s not like buying a tough old bird, slow cooking it for hours and creating an amazing coq au vin. Pigs have feelings and need a lot of care and love to return the favour when you take your turn to cook it – use organic or at the very least, free range pork.
The cooking technique is what makes this dish so good. The frying pan and oven must be very hot before you start cooking the pork so you can develop a beautiful caramelised sear all over the fillet.
Miraculous ingredients: pork fillet (free range or organic), Clearspring dark or tamari soya sauce, fresh parsley
Seared marinated pork fillet
1 pork fillet (weight between 350g - 450g)
2 tablespoons soya sauce (Clearspring is the best)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the pork fillet by removing the white 'skin' on the underside. I run a very sharp knife between the white skin and the meat to pull it away. Place the prepared fillet in a plastic freezer bag with a zip lock seal.
Grind the garlic and parsley in a pestle and mortar to a paste. Then add the soy sauce and mix together. Put this paste into the freezer bag with the pork fillet. Seal the bag and squish the pork in the marinade to get nicely covered. Place in a fridge for at least ½ hour, longer if you have the time. Place a dry medium size cast iron or stainless steel frying pan (which can go into the oven) on a high heat and pre-heat the oven to 250C. Leave both to get hot for at least 10 minutes.
Remove the pork from the freezer bag and use kitchen paper to remove as much of the marinade as possible from the fillet. The pork needs to be as dry as possible, so when it hits the hot pan and oil, it quickly develops a lovely brown crust.
Add the olive oil to the very hot pan and then the pork fillet. Sear on each side for approx. 1 minute (I use very long tongs to turn the fillet) and then put the pan into the very hot oven. Set the timer for 8 minutes (if it’s a really big fillet, then 10 minutes). As soon as it beeps, take the pan out - remember to use a couple of kitchen towels or oven gloves – and place the fillet on a warm plate, cover with aluminium foil and lay a couple of kitchen towels on top. Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes.
Once rested, slice as finely as you can (I use my serrated bread knife). Don’t be alarmed to see pink meat in the middle, this is what makes the fillet so tender – it’s ok to have pink meat in the middle of a fillet as it hasn’t come into contact with the ‘outside’ world (and bacteria) and is safe to eat. Serve with egg pasta in a cream and black pepper sauce and lots of salad.
Preparation time 10 minutes, marinating time 30 minutes, cooking 10 minutes, serves 4