Saturday, March 08, 2008

why you must brine

pork loin with grits
Originally uploaded by lornababy
one of the reasons i never used to cook pork that much was that it always turned dry and tough. alton brown taught me how to brine a turkey, but ming tsai taught me how to brine a pork loin. and now there is no other way for me to cook a pork loin.

here's my take on ming's recipe. i get a simple one pound pork loin from trader joe's, then throw it in a ziplock back with some kosher salt (maybe 1/4 cup), some soy sauce, some peppercorns, a knob of peeled ginger, some star anise and enough water to cover. let it soak overnight, then take it out, dry it off (pick off the peppercorns), rub some canola or olive oil on it and then roast in a 400 degree oven until the internal temperature is about 135. take the pork loin out of the oven, cover in some tin foil and let it rest about 15 minutes (the temperature will go up to about 140 or 145, which is what you want for medium). slice and serve. it will look a little pink in the middle, but that's because of the brine.

it's simple and flavorful and sure to impress. you could make a sauce to go over it to dress it up, but you really don't need to, because the pork is so flavorful. if you do want to make up a sauce, be warned, you won't be able to make a pan gravy with the drippings, because the pork is so lean and it doesn't give up any fat. with the asian flavors in the brine, i like to serve it with asian style vegetables with some soy sauce to pick up the soy sauce flavor in the pork. sauteed baby bok choi or, in this case, snow peas, work great. roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes (regular or sweet) or rice are also great sides, but this time i tried some grits with white cheddar (i wasn't thrilled with the result on the grits, for the record).

i got to meet ming at a book signing for his blue ginger cook book in december 1999. ming's brined pork recipe is in that cook book, btw. i generally don't like to post pictures of myself online, but it's pretty cool to have met one of my favorite chefs, so here it is...

me & ming


Doodles said...

lil bird I am going out today and getting me a pork loin....that sounds sooooo good. Love the snap - thanks

Moon said...

Didn't Tia Di take that pix?

I remember the first brined turkey and that made me an advocate ever since. I do smaller cuts of pork and poultry in ZipLock bags.