Sunday, January 27, 2008

Recipe: Pork and Sage Bites (Χοιρινό και Φασκόμηλο Μεζές)

“We’re having pork for dinner,” I announced last week. “Do you want it with sage or rosemary?”

The answer was sage. It continues to thrive in our bedroom herb garden, and needed a haircut, so I was happy to pair it with the pork.

I didn’t have a plan for what to make, but wanted something with simple flavors that could be put together at the last minute. Since it’s January, and we’re still not shopping, whatever I made had to use on-hand ingredients.

For years, one of our favorite treats has been a sauceless version of saltimbocca (an Italian dish whose name means “jumps in the mouth”). My saltimbocca is made with chicken pounded thin and layered with prosciutto and sage.

I decided to make something similar with the pork. We’re out of prosciutto, but pork is flavorful meat and doesn’t need the flavor boost prosciutto gives chicken.

Thinly pounded pork, browned quickly in butter and liberally seasoned with freshly ground black pepper, pairs beautifully with fresh sage leaves. Like its Italian cousin, the Pork and Sage Bites jumped in our mouths as fast as we could open them.

Although we ate the Pork and Sage Bites for dinner, they make an easy and flavorful appetizer. For those who enjoy ouzo, Pork and Sage Bites would be a tasty accompaniment.

Pork and Sage BitesPork and Sage Bites (Χοιρινό και Φασκόμηλο Μεζές)
Makes about 60 pieces
Pork and Sage Bites can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance. They cook very quickly and make a wonderful hot appetizer or main course. I recently served them to complement Red Cabbage with Mushrooms and Blueberries. The leftovers, and there were plenty since only two of us were eating, disappeared in less than a day.

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh sage
2 – 4 Tbsp. butter

Pounded PorkWash and dry the pork. Slice the tenderloin at an angle into 1/2” thick medallions. Place the medallions between two sheets of plastic wrap. Working from the center to the edges, lightly pound the medallions with the flat side of a meat pounder until they are 1/8” thick.

Making Pork and Sage BitesCut the thinly pounded pork into 2” – 3” pieces (it doesn’t matter if they are slightly larger or smaller than this). Salt the pork and season it with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Place one fresh sage leaf, attractive side up, on top of each pork piece. Secure the sage leaf to the pork with a wooden toothpick.

Preheat a heavy plate (this is easiest to do by putting the clean dry plate in a microwave on high for 60 – 90 seconds).

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a frying pan until it is hot, but not brown or smoking. Add as many pork pieces to the pan, sage leaf side up, as will fit comfortably; do not crowd them or the pork will steam rather than brown. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes, or until the meat starts to brown. Turn over and cook for 1 – 2 minutes more. Place cooked Pork Bites on the preheated plate. Cook the remainder of the Pork Bites, adding butter to the pan as necessary.

Serve immediately.
This is my entry to the "Grow Your Own" event hosted by Andrea's Recipes.
For Jack, who wants to know five odd, random, or weird things about me:
I didn’t eat a raw tomato until I was 24.
The first sentence I learned in Greek was, “I’m sorry, I can’t eat anymore.”
I watched Eskimo villagers pull a beluga whale to shore and ate fresh muktuk.
I’ve only been to McDonalds one time and that was in Bed-Stuy.
I like emptying mini-bars and filling them with cheese.


Núria said...

Laurie, I'm really enjoying your blog, your recipes and your stories/anecdotes!
Too bad sage is missing in my garden, but you gave me an idea for another dish, thanks! Buen provecho!

desie said...

i just love sage. this sounds like perfect finger-food for a party.
very interesting 'random' facts about you:-)

Peter M said...

Laurie, this would be a great offering and the natives would love this.

Sage has made a new entry in my garden and I'll make this for my next little get together.

Suzana said...

I've seldom used sage. I don't exactly know why since it's a fairly common herb and I even like the smell & taste... I'll have to fix that soon! Nice finger-food, Laurie.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Good looking finger food. Saltimbocca and its relatives always scores highly in my book

winedeb said...

Laurie, this looks yummy! I have a nice size sage plant and am always looking for a new recipe to include it and we love pork - so there ya go! And pounding the pork is interesting, never thought to do it. Chicken, etc. but have not tried the pork. Great idea!

Laurie Constantino said...

Nuria, I'm so glad you're liking the blog - and as for giving you an idea, that's wonderful! Maybe you should plant some sage, just to try it.

Maybahay, you liked my facts! They cracked me up but, then again, I'm easily amused. And you're right about the finger food.

Peter M, I can't imagine you not liking this, and its great you're growing sage.

Suzana, I hope you try it and like it!

You know, Mike, I love saltimbocca pretty much every way I've ever had it. So much flavor.

Winedeb, pork and sage are one of those ideal combinations. As for pounding pork tenderloin, I do it all the time; it's really easy. Dijon sauce is particularly good with them (but without the sage).

Andrea said...

Oh, this is lovely, and it does look like it makes a great appetizer! The sage leaves look great paired with each morsel. Thanks again for sharing your talents with Grow Your Own!