yuzu, part deux: the fruit of my loins.

remember a few posts back when i made yuzu pasta and my girlfriend whipped up an amazing batch of yuzu cupcakes?

while i would like to pretend that culinary curiosity was the only force of nature which inspired such an amazing post, the truth is not quite as glamorous.  we cooked an entirely yuzu themed meal because we had so many yuzu we didn’t even know what to do with them.  we literally had so many we were bathing in them.

we worked hard, and when all was said and done, we had accomplished a great feat.  we breathed a deep sigh of elation and continued with our lives.  two yuzu recipes had been born out of a desire to let no fruit go wasted, and that was nothing to be scoffed at.  after all, necessity is the mother of invention.

like any normal person would after living through such a trying ordeal, i thought i was done with yuzu recipes for the year.

as it turns out, i was sorely mistaken.

enter chris.  he’s an excitable, active, family oriented dude who has lived in japan for almost twenty years now.  he was one of the first people i met when i moved to japan almost two years ago.  he works for the same company as me and mans the other schools in my area.  as it turns out, he is the proud owner of a yuzu tree.  while i had knowledge of this tree (because he gave me a whole bunch of yuzu last year to use how i saw fit), i had totally forgotten about its existence until last weekend, when he brought a massive box to a get-together i was attending.  he offered me my choice of the box, and i responded like any amateur chef in love with japanese food should.

i took about twenty five.

this began a grudge match between the poor man’s imagination and the mountains of yuzu in his apartment.  and i can confidently say that the current score is 1-0 poor man.

yuzu-crusted roast pork loin

you’ll need:

  • 2 400g pieces of pork loin (try to find them on the leaner side)
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • the rind of two or three small yuzu
  • hot pepper flake
  • a tablespoon of chinese style mustard
  • three tablespoons of soy sauce
  • five cloves of garlic
  1. start off by working on your veggies.  peel and mince your cloves of garlic and put them in a small bowl.
  2. use an oroshi board or microplane to zest the peels of the yuzu into the garlic bowl.  when you are done zesting, cut the fruit in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl as well.  make sure not to include any seeds.
  3. add a generous amount of hot pepper flake, mustard, soy sauce, and five or six tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. use a blending wand or a food processor to make the contents of the bowl into a thick aqueous marinade.  if the marinade seems to thick, add a little bit more olive oil to the mixture.  once blended, pour the contents into a sealable plastic bag or container.  this stuff is too good to spill, so be careful while you pour.
  5. take the pork loins out of the package and pat them dry with paper towels.  use a sharp knife to roughly score them on both sides.  add both pieces of meat to the bag, give them a good shake, and pop the bag in the refrigerator.    make sure to remove as much air as you can from the bag before tossing it in to chill.
  6. wait 12 to 24 hours.
  7. once your finally excitement gets the better of you, take the loins out of the fridge.
  8. preheat your toaster (or conventional) oven to 200ºc.  remove the loins from their marinade, rub them with a bunch of salt and pepper, and set them aside.  add two or three tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan.  bring the pan to medium-high heat, then add the meat.  do your best to sear it on all sides.  remember, your goal is to create a crust, not to cook the meat all the way through.  this step should only take a few minutes.
  9. once the loins are seared and the oven hot, put them in a baking pan and slide them into the oven.  let them cook for about an hour, then check the temperature at the fattest part of the loin using an internal thermometer.  your goal is to have it read about 65ºc.
  10. remove the loins from the pan and wrap them in foil.  set them on a plate or cutting board and wait for another 10 to 15 minutes.  during this time, the meat will continue to cook, so don’t skip this step or your pork will be underdone.  in my experience, avoiding food-borne illnesses is almost always in your best interest.
  11. once the grueling wait is over, peel back the foil and slice the loin into super thin slices using a very very sharp knife.
  12. if your friends are watching you slice, make sure to hand out bibs beforehand.  onlookers have been known to salivate uncontrollably.

note: while this loin is amazing when hot, it is also pretty dang delicious when chilled.  it makes a great, healthy alternative to almost any cold cut you can find in the grocery store.  serve it with crackers and cheese as an appetizer.  as a breakfast connoisseur of sorts, i recommend you try putting a few thin slices of it on an english muffin or split roll with a fried egg, wilted spinach, and a sharp cheese of your choice.

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