The other night my husband and I were watching Hell's Kitchen starring Chef Gordon Ramsey. Man I love this show, depsite the bleeped out swear words, and how mean he is to the poor chefs vying for the coveted position of head chef for his newest restaurant in Los Angeles.
This was the first episode of the season, and he had all the "contestants" create their signature dish for him to try. He basically craps on all of them! LOL Seriously. He is SO mean! But it made me think, "If I were to go on Hell's Kitchen, what would my signature dish be?"
I ran down the list mentally and none were worthy of serving to him. Don't get me wrong.. my dishes are pretty tasty (in my opinion), but they just aren't showstopping enough for Chef Ramsey. Since that night, I have been brainstorming and tonight I decided to try my first creation. Asian infused grilled pork loin with mango salsa served with a cilantro lime aioli and sweet potato croquettes.
Aioli is basically mayonnaise. Egg, mustard, oil... basic ingredients. I'll post the recipe below. It was a wonderful compliment to the pork and salsa. Truly wonderful.
A croquette (not croquet like the yard game!) is a small cake coated with egg and bread crumbs then fried. Super super delicious. I could have eaten 10 of these babies. LOL I will post the recipe for this as well in a different entry so keep your eyes peeled.
First you want to start out with good quality pork. The boneless pork loin at the store was way too thin so I wound up getting chops because these mothers were THICK!
In a bowl, make the marinade. I used:
1/4 c. soy sauce
3 Tbsp oil
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp grated gingerroot
salt and pepper
Put the pork loin or chops in a ziploc and pour the marinade in. I only had mine in the bag on the counter for an hour. If you want REALLY good chops, marinate overnight.
Now we'll begin the salsa.
We're going to roast a red pepper. You can do this in your kitchen on the stove or on the bbq. Since I didn't want to keep going in and out of the house, I did it in the kitchen. Just turn one of your burners on medium and sit the whole pepper right on it. Use tongs to turn the pepper over and over because it's going to get black. You want the whole thing black on the outside.
When the pepper is completely charred, remove from the burner.
Sit the pepper on a plate with some olive oil. Coat the entire thing and then start rubbing the entire pepper. This will peel the skin off.
It also helped by running the pepper under the tap.
This is the peeled pepper. Cut out the core. Pull out the seeds and any extra ribbing. Then dice and put in a bowl.
Peel and dice a mango. Put in the bowl with the red pepper.
Chop one bunch of green onion and add to bowl.
Chop about 1/4 cup cilantro and put in bowl. Squeeze half lime on top. Mix well and set aside. You can make this the night before and store in the fridge.
Heat your grill. Sear your chops on both sides then turn the heat down and let them cook through. It used to be that pork needed to be completely cooked through, but with new FDA regulations, you can cook pork where there is still some pink and you won't get sick. You don't want to overcook the pork because it will be so dry and that will ruin my recipe. SO DON'T DO IT! LOL
Spoon or squeeze some of the aioli (recipe below) onto your plate. I used a squeezy bottle that I use for salad dressing to make the zig zags. You could easily use a piping bag or sandwich bag with the corner snipped. That is.. if you want to get fancy with it. ;)
Rest your pork chop right in the middle of your plate.
Mmm... are you feelin it yet?
Top with a big spoonful of mango salsa. Serve with a sweet potato croquette (recipe to come).
Sit down with your preferred beverage and enjoy. The flavor of the aioli with the pork and salsa was amazing.
I think Gordon would be pleased.
In a blender, put:
1 large egg
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Blend for a minute and then carefully and slowly drizzle in 1 cup olive oil while the blender is still going. The mixture will emulsify as the oil and egg come together.
Transfer to a bowl and hold in the fridge until you're ready to use it. This can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.