Dinners like tonight make me so happy. Super simple preparation, rich, aromatic flavors, striking presentation. That’s everything that “New American” food should be. I hate categorizing things that we do, because so much of what we do falls outside/in between the borders that define cuisines. However, tonight’s dinner is straight up New England autumn on a plate. Cranberry pork loin in a smoky maple and sage brine, salt-baked beets from Applefield with tahini and goat cheese (don’t forget the seeds!), local fingerling potatoes with tarragon aioli, Little Leaf Farms mesclun with shaved fennel and caramelized shallot vinaigrette. Simple, beautiful, delicious. The little steps go a long way here- like using local cranberries, which are waaaay more tart and dense than commodity berries. Their bitter and acidic notes cut the sweetness and fat from the pork loin. Ray’s beets are nutty and earthy, and pick up the creaminess from the tahini and goat cheese like nothing else. Little Leaf Farms’ mesclun has the perfect texture for a smoother, lighter vinaigrette, and the fennel makes everything pop. I’m drooling. Get in there!
For the pork loin:
Best way to reheat this is to give it a hard sear. Heat a cast iron or nonstick pan over medium high heat, throw a tablespoon or two of butter/olive oil in there, and sear the slices of pork loin for 2-3 minutes on each side, until nice and caramelized. The glaze will probably drip off, but that’s fine. Once the pork is out, add a splash or two of water to the pan, and cook it down into a sauce to drizzle on your sliced pork.
For the potatoes:
I really love potatoes that are covered in aioli and then blistered underneath the broiler. The eggs in the aioli cook, and although the aioli breaks under heat, the textures and flavor from the caramelization are unreal. Broil these potatoes on high for 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to blister and pop.
For the beets:
Interestingly enough, I wouldn’t be surprised if these are amazing if broiled as well. I intended them to be eaten cold/room temp, but if you’re feeling crazy, pop them under the broiler with the potatoes. I haven’t tried it, and it might not be as good as cold beets, but let me know if you do! I’m gonna try some later if there’s any left 🙂
For the salad:
Dress it up, give it a season, and dig right in!
That’s it! Hope you enjoy 🙂
Dinner is served, and solved.