3.21.11 Meaty Monday: Purloined Sirloin
Would it surprise you to hear that last night we busted out the barbecue and grilled up some pork, and awoke this morning to the first day of spring covered in snow? During a stroll around our yard yesterday, I was so thrilled to spy the first signs of life: snowdrops, rhubarb, mint (photos tomorrow). The chipmunks were dashing about, shaking off the winter doldrums and nibbling on green shoots. All just a tease. We'll be out snowshoeing again tomorrow. Not sure if I'm complaining, but I think I am.Anyway, we were lucky enough to get in our first grilled dinner—steaks, but featuring the other white meat. Whoever heard of a pork steak? At Dickson's, where we get our meat in the city, they frequently have interesting new cuts. If I'm not mistaken, this has to do with the fact that they are buying the whole animal. They like to find appealing ways to showcase parts that don't often show up in the butcher case. It's also why they can sell things like homemade suet, stocks, patés and terrines. So when G spied these pork "sirloins," he had to give them a try.
Lightly marbled, with a rim of fat along one edge, this is one very meaty, tender and juicy pork steak. Not sure how you feel about pork. If you eat it, only buy pork products that come from small, local farms that raise their pigs humanely. I would never, ever again eat a bite of factory-farmed anything. If you have no idea why I would say this, please watch my friend Sarah Teale's excellent documentary for HBO, Death on a Factory Farm. If you do not have access to meat raised in this way, I suggest you skip it altogether. Simple as that. The meat, milk and eggs found in supermarkets today are highly contaminated and devoid of the type of nutrition our bodies need.It's good to remember that, as Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions states, "the amount of meat in your diet depends on your genetic makeup and on hormonal factors. Some people require a lot of meat while others do not produce enough hydrochloric acid in their stomachs to handle large amounts very well. Some researchers claim that our need for meat declines in later years. Requirements for individual essential amino acids vary enormously."I tend to eat only occasional and small quantities of cured pork—bacon, pancetta, ham hocks—used as a flavoring in vegetable dishes. Once a year, on the 4th of July, I do indulge in our wonderfully smoky, North Carolina-style pulled pork. Pork fat is extremely nutritious and high in vitamin D. But it's not wise to eat a lot of nitrites or nitrates in this form, nor is it a good idea to eat a lot of grilled/charred foods as they carry carcinogens.That said (oy), we sprinkled these pork sirloins with chile salt and tossed them on a hot grill until they were crusty on the outside and pink and juicy on the inside, and boy were they delicious! With a crisp salad of radicchio, parsley and toasted pecans, it was the perfect dinner for a Meaty Monday—as long as you're not in the middle of yet another snowstorm...