It’s that time of year when the seasons can’t quite make up their minds - it isn’t hot, nor is it cold. It can be in the upper seventies during the day, and then refreshingly dip into the mid-fifties and night.
Our palates begin to crave foods that are a little more substantial, with a different flavor profile than the summer months. The offerings at the greengrocer have changed - melons are making their last visit, and pumpkins, apples, and squash are first and foremost.
It isn't quite time to crank up the ovens for roasts and such, but now is correct to begin transitioning to a menu that acknowledges the shorter days and sweater weather.
Dining al fresco, under a canopy of starlight, with a cool evening breeze can be quite delicious. At Brian Beal Moore Catering, we offer a simple and satisfying entree that is perfect, especially when accompanied by a crisp and pure Alvarinho from the northern Monção and Melgaço area of Vinho Verde in Portugal.
In the following recipe, the fennel adds a subtle anise flavor, that plays well with the sweetness of the apples. The marriage of the two mustards yields a marvelous tang!
Pork Medallions with Apple-Fennel Slaw
Serves 4 (serving size: 3 oz. pork, 1 1/2 cups slaw, and 2 tbsp. sauce)
1 (6-oz.) sweet potato, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 (1-lb.) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-in.-thick slices
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup hard apple cider or regular cider
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups thinly sliced apple
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb, plus fennel fronds for garnish
2 tablespoons sliced shallot
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Combine potato slices and 1 tablespoon oil on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes or until tender.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high. Top pork slices with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add to pan; cook 5 minutes on one side. Remove from pan; add cider, and cook 1 minute. Stir in mustard. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter. Add pork to pan; let stand 3 minutes.
Combine potatoes, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, apple, fennel bulb, and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Serve slaw with pork and pan sauce. Garnish with fennel fronds.