Sunday, September 9, 2007

My favorite question

It was a "what are we going to have for dinner?" kind of night. I had a busy day and hadn't given any thought what so ever to what to have for dinner. I scanned the fridge and freezer trying to come up with an idea before hubby's call on the way home from work. The call usually goes something like this:

Hubby- "Hi, I'm on my way home."

Me- "Okay..."

"What's going on?"

"Nothing much, the usual." (pause... wait... for the inevitable question)

"Oh, well what's for dinner?" (voice full of hope)

I usually do have some sort of plan before he calls, but occasionally I have no idea. This response is met with a deflated sounding"Oh well, we'll figure it out."

Nothing for him to look forward to for the remainder of the 20 min. drive home, which is why, I think, he calls in the first place.
On days when he's not working, he may ask "what's for dinner?" shortly after lunch. "How can you possibly be thinking about dinner!" I ask in wonder.
"I'm only asking because I know how much you love that question!" he'll say. It's a good thing I love him.
I was having one of those no clue days and I knew the phone would be ringing soon. As I pillaged though the refrigerator, I found a mango that really needed to be used. "Mango salsa!" I thought. I love mango salsa with a little jalapeno, red onion and avocado with fish or chicken, but I had pork tenderloin. I remembered a dish from Epicurious for a pork with mango salsa and a blackberry gastrique. This mango salsa is made with red onion, lime, and mint.

It pairs wonderfully with the raspberry gastrique. This recipe looks like it would be difficult, gastrique and all, but it's quite easy and comes together in about 30 min.

A little while later when I got "the call" I had an answer for the all important question!

Pork Tournedos with Blackberry Gastrique and Mango Salsa
Mango Salsa
1 firm-ripe mango, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
In a bowl stir together salsa ingredients with salt to taste and let stand, covered, at room temperature. Salsa may be made 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, covered.
Makes about 1 cup.
Pork Tournedos and blackberry gastric
3/4 cup red-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons seedless blackberry preserves
1/4 teaspoon salt
six 1 1/2-inch-thick center-cut boneless pork loin chops (also called tournedos, about 6 ounces each)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Make gastrique:
In a small saucepan simmer vinegar until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Whisk in preserves and salt, whisking until smooth, and keep warm, covered.
Season pork with pepper and salt. In a 12-inch heavy skillet melt butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides and sauté pork until golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Cook pork, covered, over moderate heat until just cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
Divide gastrique among 6 plates and top with pork and salsa.
Serves 6.
I used a pork tenderloin, cut into about 2" rounds. I flattened the pieces slightly with my hand, into relatively all the same shape and cooked as above.
I served it with wilted spinach and roasted sweet potato.


Nora B. said...

Such a fabulous meal that you thought of at short notice!

Half Baked said...

Thanks, nora b. Sometimes it's just pure luck!