We make new friends all the time, and it’s always a joy finding out one of them loves to and is able to cook. This is the case with Zack. Zack and I work together, but he has attended several dinner parties and events that Chrystal and I have hosted. In the office, Zack busts out the healthiest meal meal every day–Usually a bag of raw baby carrots and a simple sandwich. One day, he professed his love for food, all food, and cooking extravagant meals, so you can imagine the surprise. Since then we have indulged in countless meals together outside of work, where we enjoyed foods ranging from the modestly sensible to the absurdly unhealthy. Guess you shouldn’t judge a person by what they eat for lunch. Here’s Zack to share even more of his passion for food and experimental cooking.
“When I was in college (go Dawgs!), I worked at a local Italian restaurant founded by a very talented chef who had recently relocated to rural Athens, Georgia from Milan, Italy. With him he brought exquisite meals that appealed to the tastes of all who meandered into his second floor rustic bistro. Out of the myriad of incredible dishes that he prepared, one of my favorites was the pork medallions with a mustard-green peppercorn cream sauce. It had such a unique and wonderful flavor with brash strength but also a charismatic personality. In all my years since working there, I have never forgotten it, yet I have never tried to recreate it either. This was the perfect opportunity to try. Perhaps to the chagrin of ‘real’ chefs, I only have two rules while cooking:
1. Ignore specific measurements.
2. Always drink wine while doing it.
Incidentally, the former often comes quite unintentionally after the latter.”
Pork Medallions in Mustard-Green Peppercorn Cream Sauce – Serves 4 (Recipe from Emeril Lagasse)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 – 4 ounce pork medallions or chops
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, divided
¼ cup minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon green peppercorns, drained and crushed
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. Pour yourself a large class of wine. Some people will tell you that you should drink a white wine or a light red with pork. Ignore those people. They are the same people who make their kids wear the same color socks. Drink whatever makes you happy! I chose an incredibly bold California Syrah, and I regret nothing.
2. Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium high heat. Season all of the pork with the salt and pepper, and once the oil is hot, brown the first side of each medallion for two and a half minutes. Flip and cook the other side for about two minutes. Remove from the pan, cover to keep warm and set aside.
3. Add the first tablespoon of butter to the same skillet used to cook the pork. Once the butter is foamy and bubbly, toss in the shallots and garlic. Cook for about one minute, then add the wine and simmer for about four minutes before adding the cream. Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook another four minutes.
4. Reduce the heat slightly, then whisk in the mustard followed by the remaining butter. Finally, stir in the green peppercorns. Add the pork back to the pan, along with any juices, and heat just until warmed through, approximately 30 seconds.
5. **MOST IMPORTANT STEP** If you find yourself dangerously low on wine, make sure you refill it immediately.
6. Arrange two medallions on each plate and top with sauce. Garnish each serving with parsley and serve.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
-I used black pepper instead of white pepper. The biggest difference is not so much in the flavor, but the aesthetics.
-I used pork chops instead of medallions.
-Adjust the duration of cooking for thicker cuts of pork.
-Shallots can make you cry too. Not that I did. But… you know… some people might…
-I used half/half instead of heavy cream. This affected the consistency of the sauce.
-I would recommend more than 1 teaspoon of green peppercorns. You could easily add 2 teaspoons or even 3 teaspoons. They provide a great flavor.
-Alongside my pork, I cooked roasted red potatoes (chopped evenly, olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, freshly chopped parsley). Cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and then turn it up to 400 degrees for 20ish minutes.
-The green beans were a simple touch of olive oil, freshly chopped garlic, salt and pepper sautéed at high heat on the stove top.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.