We try really hard to be good people, and that includes living in a way which helps respect and protect our environment. We compost, we recycle and re-use, we try and limit our carbon footprint and we re-purpose whenever and whatever we can. Therefore, in the spirit of making something old, new again, we’ve decided to re-share a recent recipe. By presenting it in a different way, it serves a new, delicious purpose.
Something lucky happened when our parents were teaching us how to make their marinated pork tenderloin and rice meal. Near the end of our lesson, their koumbaroi (close friends that basically become family) came by for a visit. As though on auto-pilot, our parents immediately set out a lovely table of mezedes and drink. They offered olives, nuts, fresh bread, and cheeses within the space of a couple of minutes. And then, they took a few portions of the pork tenderloin we had just finished cooking, cut it into bite-size pieces, and presented it with some lemon on a lovely little plate. With a few swift slices, meal became meze, and we were once again impressed by their easy capacity for hospitality.
Mezes are similar to Spanish tapas or American hors d’oeuvres. They are usually small morsels of food, served on small plates, and are meant to accompany alcoholic drinks, although they can certainly be enjoyed with non-alcoholic drinks as well. Sometimes, mezes are served before a main course, but often, several different meze replace a formal, complete meal. Offering a variety of meze is a lovely way to entertain, and a delicious opportunity to try many different foods. Popular mezes include olives, spanakopita, fried calamari, keftedes, and of course, this marinated pork fillet.
Although this recipe is very easy to prepare, it does require some pre-planning as the pork must marinate for several hours (the longer the better, but at least 12 hours).
Our parents usually fry their marinated pork fillets, probably because of how delicious they are this way. If you would prefer not to fry them, you can always grill them on the barbecue or even bake them in the oven. Regardless of the way that you cook your fillets, you will slice them into bite-sized pieces only after they are cooked and have rested for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
If you do follow this recipe and fry your pork fillet, the cooking time listed may appear to be too long. You may worry that this would cause your pork to dry out, or become really greasy. Despite the fact that the pork is cooked through completely (that is, there is no pink in the center), it remains moist and simply delicious. This is marinade magic.
One of the marinade ingredients is Montreal steak spice. You may be able to find this where you live, even if it’s not in Montreal. Otherwise, you can substitute your favourite brand of steak spice, and when you come visit our beautiful city, you can pick some up.
We have prepared the following recipe using 5 pork fillets which you will cut from a pork tenderloin, and indicated that this will serve 6 – 8 people as a meze; use this as a guide. A lot will depend upon what else you will be serving, how much your guests tend to eat (let’s face it, some appetites are healthier than others), and if you will be serving only mezes or a meal as well.
Mia Kouppa: Pork fillet appetizer
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1/2 tablespoon (7 ml) honey
- 1/2 tablespoon (7 ml) yellow mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon (7 ml) Montreal steak spice, or another type of steak spice
- 1/2 tablespoon (7 ml) Greek oregano, dry
- 5 pork fillets from a pork tenderloin, each fillet cut into 1 1/2 inch thick slices
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon juice (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix together the red wine, olive oil, honey, mustard, steak spice, and Greek oregano. Add your pork fillets to the bowl and coat evenly with the marinade. Alternatively, pour the marinade into a large re-sealable plastic bag (like a freezer bag) and then add the pork fillets. Ensure that they are coated thoroughly. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. You should occasionally mix the pork around so that the marinade is easily distributed.
- Heat vegetable oil, half an inch deep, in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the pork pieces, being careful not to crowd them. Cook, turning occasionally, until pork is done. Our parents cook each batch for about 15 to 20 minutes. You may prefer your pork to be less well done, in which case, you can cook it for less time.
- Once cooked, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and with some lemon juice if you like.