Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pork Medallions and Assorted Whitefish Strozzapreti

Pork tenderloin may initially lead to thoughts of the breaded and battered fried sandwich that so many of us love. But pork tenderloin - also referred to as pork filet - may be the best least-known pork commodity available. We all love the pork tenderloin sandwich and pork chops, but stray from what you know, and the pork filet just might become your new favorite pork cut!

You might wonder, "Aren't pork filet and pork loin the same thing?" The answer is no, not really. The pork filet runs from the shoulders to the back legs which is the most tender and leanest part of the pig. The pork loin comes from tissue across the top of the rib cage. The pork loin is typically what you see used for bacon, chops or steaks.  While it's still somewhat tender, the pork loin is not nearly as tender and lean as the pork filet. 

With a little education on the differences of the pork filet and pork loin behind us, we can get into some of the economics of the pork. Right now, pork is about as high as we have ever seen it, and the experts say that prices may continue to rise. What has always been an easy menu option for us - with low prices, minimal work and high supply and high demand - may now make us think a little bit about what to do with it going forward. Instead of abandoning the pork completely, we are going to try to introduce our customers to a different cut. A cut that we feel, by far, is the best pork you will ever try.

We cut the filet into 3oz medallions and wrap them with applewood smoked bacon, seasoned and grilled to perfection. Topped with a brandied (mixed with brandy for flavor) cherry jus, this pork loin is something that you must try. We are positive it will be the most tender, lean and savory cut of the pork you have ever bit into.

Also on special this week is a strozzapreti pasta topped with a vodka cream sauce and broiled halibut, mahi mahi and cod trio. Strozzapreti is the pasta that I personally enjoy most and one I might go as far as saying I discovered for the restaurant. Strozzapreti is an elongated form of cavatelli pasta. These are hand rolled pastas that almost look like a sliced, twisted and rolled version of penne pasta. Their name also means "prieststranglers."

This Italian pasta is of Tuscan or Romagna origin. The first explanation as to how this pasta got its nickname was from Tuscan folklore. It states that the wives of Tuscany would make this pasta for the clergy as partial land payment. In return, the husbands would be so irritated by the clergy being around and eating the food that their wives made for them, led the husbands to want to "strangle" the priests. Another legend states that priests from this region would enjoy the pasta so much that they would eat this too quickly and choke themselves. Whatever the origin, I understand the enjoyment of it. This is one good pasta!

But the best part of the dish perhaps is the trio of halibut, mahi mahi and cod that accompany the delicious pasta and vodka cream sauce. Not often will you find such a nice assortment of broiled seafood in one dish, let alone with so many other great flavors. This dish is so good, the clergy would be proud!

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