A while ago I went to Eyre Brothers and had a marvellous meal. This Iberian restaurant has an incredibly stylish interior, a gutsy contemporary (I hate that word) menu and the best grilled pork fillet in London. The Fino was superb, as was my starter (pictured below).
Pressed Madeira and Porto marinated duck foie gras; chive and toasted almonds £12
But it was all about the main, which was this incredible piece of pork. I would suggest it's the restaurant's signature dish and you must try it if you ever go there. On the menu it's described as;
Grilled Fillet of Acorn Fed Ibérico Pig, Marinated with Pimentón, Thyme and Garlic. Served with Patatas Pobres; Oven potatoes with green peppers, onions, garlic and white wine. We would recommend that lean cuts of feral Ibérico pig to be grilled to medium-rare. £21
The texture and flavour of this meat is one of the most amazing things ever to enter the hole in my face. I couldn't stop thinking about this dish and for days and I wondered how to create it or rather, recreate it.
It did take three attempts, the first being a BBQ-ed version which I over-cooked and it didn't gather enough flavour from the marinade (below).
The next I tried under the grill in the oven, with it wrapped in a bit of foil to keep it moist and to get the flavour deep into the meat, then finished it off out of the foil to get the charred-ness. This also didn't really work, as too much liquid came out of the meat (below).
Both my previous attempts were OK and not bad, just not the same as Eyre Brothers. But the last time I tried it, I nearly got it. It's all about cooking the meat when it's at room temperature and giving it a very long marinade in a bit of oil and a shit load of smoked paprika, thyme & garlic. I used a hot pimentón/paprika rather than a sweet one. I also used a slightly different cooking method to my other two attempts by using a cast-iron griddle pan. The trick is to get the pan smoking hot and I mean white hot. DO NOT OIL THE PAN. If you do, the kitchen will be filled with smoke as the oil will just sit in the grooves of the pan and burn. So the oil in the marinade will be enough to stop the meat sticking. Sear the meat so it's black on the outside and pink in the middle, burning the outside will lock all the moisture into meat, then let the meat relax for 10 minutes or so before slicing into medallions. Then season with a little rock salt, a few drops of lemon juice (or try a little sherry vinegar perhaps) and pour any juices back onto the meat if they come out.
Best served with an appley white wine, a light red or even a Fino sherry. I also made some bead and served it with a green salad.
Next time I make it, it should be perfected, as I still haven't managed to find Iberian pork tenderloin, never mind some pig fed on acorns. I'm sure in time I can pre-order some special outdoor reared British pork from a local butchers. Obviously buying cheap pork from Morrisons means you're starting on the back foot.
I'm also still thinking about the Padrón peppers I had at Eyre Brothers. Give me a month or two and I'll see if I can nail a good method for cooking these little green monsters.