I love shoulder seasons like this moment of autumn. Tomatoes are still hanging on the vine and full of sweet flavor; apples are literally dropping from the tree, and pears are ripe, aromatic, lush. We’ve got new autumn turnips, their skin so fine it almost peels off, and potimarron (kuri squash), those harbingers of short days and meals before the fire. Wild peaches, or peches des vignes, are still at the market, their flesh blood-red, their juicy sweetness tinged with tannin, and late season melons couldn’t be sweeter and more flavorful.
In classes we’re tasting it all. We just made the first Tarte Tatin of the season, a dream on the plate. We’re making tomato confit, tomato tarts, tomato soup, and tomato tartare; we’re poaching pears and putting them in clafoutis; we’re those first turnips and turning them into a dazzling soup; and potimarron (or kuri squash) are thick and heavy at the market, and perfect for everything from ice cream to a bed for a peppery poached egg. Melon, seasoned with a bit of lime juice, turns into a perfect garnish for roast pork seasoned with ginger and cilantro oil, and basil is dolloped into pistou, that pristine Provencale soup that features fresh shell beans as its star.
It’s a perfect time for cooking, with the best of two seasons for our cooking pleasure.
PORK WITH GINGER YOGURT SAUCE AND CILANTRO COULIS
PORC AVEC YAOURT AU GINGEMBRE ET AU COULIS DE CORIANDRE
For the yogurt:
1 cup (250ml) plain, whole fat yogurt
½ teaspoon grated ginger (from a ½ x ½-inch (1.5 x 1.5cm) chunk of ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon lime zest, minced
For the pork:
1-1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 pound 12 ounces (about 750g) fresh pork loin
1 cup (250ml) water, for cooking the pork
For the garnish:
4 tablespoons (60ml) cilantro oil (see recipe)
Fleur de sel
Begonia or geranium petals, for the garnish
- The day before you plan to serve the pork, drain the yogurt. Place the yogurt in a strainer lined with cheese cloth placed in a bowl, and refrigerate for 6 hours. Remove the yogurt from the strainer. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the ginger and the lime zest into the yogurt, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Remove the yogurt from the refrigerator and strain it through a fine-mesh strainer, to remove the ginger and the lime. Reserve at room temperature.
- In a small bowl, mix together the ginger and the salt. Rub the mixture all over the pork, cover, and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place the pork in a baking dish, and pour a cup of water around it. Place the pork in the center of the oven and roast until it turns golden on the outside, and the interior temperature is 140°F (62°C), about 55 minutes to 1 hour. Check the pork occasionally as it roasts and add additional water as necessary to keep the bottom of the roasting pan moist. Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
- To serve, slice the pork into six equal-sized slices. Evenly divide the yogurt among six dinner plates, placing it in the center of the plate and flattening it into a round in the center of the plate. Lay a slice of pork atop the yogurt. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the cilantro oil around each slice of pork. Let the plates sit for a few minutes, allowing the cilantro oil to spread out and fill the remaining space on the plate. Sprinkle each slice of pork with fleur de sel, garnish each plate with the flower blossoms and serve immediately.