Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cooking with GI. Dansk Mjød – Entrée Recipe

Recipe Pairing Flavors:
Delicately delicious sipping mead, with aromas and flavors of ginger blended seamlessly with honey, that concludes in a minutes long finish full of warming ginger, alcohol and hops.

Want the breakfast recipe?
Here’s a link back to the Ginger Mead Granola.

Want the dessert recipe?
You’ll find it in next Thursday’s post.


Some people like lots of hair and some don't. 

And you might think it’s all just a matter of personal preference, but not always.  For example, would you mistake Bruce Willis for Albert Einstein?  Or Carrot Top for Vin Diesel?

How about a peach for a nectarine?  Be honest.

Gee, it's awfully quiet in here.  You've never mistaken a peach for a nectarine?  Really??

All right.  If you won't, then I'll go first.  Yes.  Yes I have.  There – I’ve said it, and although admitting it might not have been the cathartic experience I'd hoped for, I'm sure I'm not alone.

And the confusion all comes down to a matter of hair.  Or a lack of it.

Botanists call it pubescence, but I prefer the less formal term for fruit hair – fuzz.  Fuzzy or fuzzless.  Now,  that's the question.  And yes, there are slings and arrows of outrageous fortune here, because peaches are nectarines and nectarines are peaches.  And the only difference is in a little hair, I mean, fuzz.

Peaches, like everything and everyone else, have dominant and recessive genes and fuzziness is a dominant trait of peaches.  I'll let you guess what the recessive one is.  Now, if both parent trees happen to pass on a copy of the recessive gene to a seedling, the resulting fruit will be a nectarine.

Otherwise, peaches and nectarines are genetically identical, which means that peaches are fuzzy nectarines and nectarines are fuzzless peaches.  Got it?

And at any time, any peach tree can form this mutation, causing some of its fruit to appear as nectarines, while nectarine trees will happily reciprocate, growing peaches occasionally among their nectarine fruit.

But although peaches and nectarines are genetically identical, it doesn't mean that they have identical tastes.  For just as human identical twins can have different personalities, these two fruits have their variations, too.

Both can be white fleshed or yellow fleshed, freestone (meaning the pit falls out easily) or clingstone, but generally, nectarines are smaller and sweeter than their larger twin.

And that sweetness is why the ancient Greeks called nectarine juice, "nektar,” meaning, “sweet as nectar," and is most likely how nectarines acquired their name.

So, when I went in search of a main course entrée to partner up with the ginger honey mead, sweet nectarines seemed like a great match to complement the mead’s honey, while the roasted pork’s sweet savoriness looked like a perfect meat.

Tender and moist, and yet subtly sweet from marinating overnight in the mead, the dish was finished with a pan sauce of nectarines, fresh ginger and dark brown sugar, with the fruit adding a freshness that balanced out the mead’s heavier sweetness.

And once finished, the dish served up a wonderful flavor amalgam of caramelized pork and dark brown sugar, juicy nectarines and tangy, freshly cooked ginger, and all enhanced at the end with a healthy pour of GI.Dansk Mjød.


Serves 4
2 pound pork loin (boneless) with a fat cap
1 cup GI. Dansk Mjød (ginger mead)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper (fresh coarse ground)
4 teaspoons fresh ginger (peeled, finely chopped)
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
4 ripe nectarines (sliced into wedges)
Place the loin and ½ cup mead in a sealable nonreactive container (such as a plastic bag or stainless steel container) and transfer to the refrigerator to marinade for 24 hours.

Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.

Once ready to roast, set oven rack to middle position and preheat to 325°F. 
Place an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil.

Drain the pork, discarding the marinade and pat the loin dry with paper towels before salting and peppering on all sides.

Once the pan is hot (surface of oil will shimmer), add the loin and sear well on all sides before transferring the skillet to the oven to roast.  Roast until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 155°F, then remove and transfer to platter to rest while preparing the nectarines and pan sauce.

Using the same skillet, now set over medium low heat, add the ginger and brown sugar, stirring briefly until the ginger is cooked and fragrant (about one minute).  Gently fold in the sliced nectarines, scraping to release the fond from the pan’s bottom and turning to coat in the mixture, before cooking an additional minute and reducing the heat to low.  Add the remaining ½ cup mead and cook briefly to blend together the flavors.

Pour the pan sauce over the pork and serve immediately.

Now, here’s a peek at my GI. Dansk Mjød inspired recipe that’s coming up next –

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