Nearly every week for years now I have gone into the kitchen and created something new and unique. Sure, sometimes it was just a matter of tinkering with and writing a recipe created centuries before I was born, but there’s always my touch in it. I set the table and present the food in its best light: natural, approachable, beautiful. Then I let my guests in with a bit of trepidation: Will they like it?
You, my lovely reader, are one of those guests.
Few things stop me from this ritual-come-job-description. Few things can, I love this, after all. And this week I decided to serve more than the usual one dish, and share a lovely, simple dinner with you: a mixture of our beloved classics and a touch of elegance. You too will love this Pork with Vermouth Sauce served with Celeriac and Cassava Mash
Last week I went on a long walk with my family, something we are also making a habit of. On the way we meet neighbors, take a peek at the local wilderness, and try to burn a few calories before we sit down for dinner.
Alas, last one didn’t end well: I sprained an ankle. Luckily it wasn’t very serious – at least it doesn’t look half as bad as the ones I saw looking it up on the internet (yeah, I too succumb to the call of Dr. Google). I credit my year of yoga for keeping me flexible enough to minimize the damage.
In any case, here I am, with a foot big as a large papaya, and hopping around like a deranged three-legged bunny, tired of icing and keeping my foot raised. I don’t do rest very well. A sprained ankle wasn’t going to keep me out of the kitchen: I’ve made dinner twice, made habichuelas con dulce twice and managed to finalize and photograph this week’s recipe.
Needless to say: If you too sprain an ankle — heaven forfends — follow your doctor’s instructions. Don’t be like me.
The first time I made this delicious mash it was out of necessity. We had eaten rice earlier in the day, and I wanted to serve mashed potatoes, but didn’t have any.
I’m not a big fan of cassava (yuca) mash; it tends to be a bit too dry and sticky, although the flavor can be heavenly. So I figured I would mix it with another root I love, which has a more forgiving texture: celeriac. The mash was just what the doctor ordered — metaphorically speaking. It was the perfect texture and the ingredients were hard to discern once mixed: the sweetness of a good yuca and the lightness of celeriac.
But if you are thinking “light” or “bland”, you are wrong. The addition of heavy cream makes it as indulgent as the best mashed potatoes I have eaten — and I have eaten great mashed potatoes. By the way, you can follow the same recipe to make the world’s best mashed potatoes. Word.
And this pork dish is my go to feed-the-husband-and-get-out-of-the-kitchen favorite. It takes all of five minutes (plus the marinating time) to have it on the table. Serve with some green salad or sautéed vegetables and nobody will suspect just how easy it was to make this dinner.
A dinner even a deranged three-legged bunny will get right.
- 3/4 lb [0.75 kg] of cassava (yuca), peeled and chopped
- 3/4 lb [0.75 kg] of celeriac , peeled and chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon table salt (plus more for seasoning at the end)
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon of dry onion powder
- 1/4 cup of chopped chives
- 12 very thin pork scallopini
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (plus more for seasoning at the end)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 1 teaspoon of dry , minced tarragon
- 3 tablespoons of neutral oil (canola, grapeseed, or peanut)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of Holland House Cooking Vermouth
Boil cassava (yuca) and celeriac until they are very soft, adding 1/2 tablespoon table salt to the water.
Add heavy cream and onion powder and mix well using a wooden spoon. Taste and season with salt to taste if you find it necessary.
Sprinkle with chopped chives before serving.
Season pork scallopini with 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, pepper and tarragon. Let it rest in the fridge for an hour.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Sprinkle sugar on the oil, and heat until the sugar browns, being careful that it does not burn.
Spread the scallopini on the skillet and brown cook until it browns on one side (approx. 40 seconds), turn and brown on the other side.
Lower heat to medium. Sprinkle flour on the scallopini and cook turning until the flour is no longer white.
Pour in vermouth and cook stirring until it starts to thicken (about 1 min). Remove from the heat and serve.