Pan fried pork recipes are ideal for dinner parties for which funds and time is short just so long as the pork steaks come with a really good sauce and the pork is not overcooked. It is difficult convincing some people that pork should be served ever so slightly pink but it’s true and more and more pork recipes are daring to say so recently. The sauce is based on my home made blackberry conserve, a reminder of hot summer days and trips to pick-your-own fruit farms. The fennel mash is cooked entirely without water which means you need a really good non-stick pan and you’ll need to stir regularly, and even then you will still get some caramelised bits but don’t worry, the taste will more than make up for a less-than-pristine appearance.
6 thin pork loin steaks
Cracked Szechuan peppercorns (or plain black peppercorns)
1 onion, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 glass red wine
2 tbs blackberry conserve
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
Oil for frying
For the mash:-
2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 head of fennel, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted in a dry pan for 3-4 mins and ground
2-3 cloves garlic, cut into slices
4 oz butter
4 tbsps oil
Trim the pork steaks and season with whichever peppercorns you are using and some sea salt. If you’re using Szechuan peppercorns go easy, they are hot!
For the sauce: saute the onion and 3-4 cloves garlic in a little oil until soft and then add the red wine, the conserve, vinegar, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to the boil and then strain. That’s it, it’s that simple.
For the mash: saute the slicved garlic, fresh fennel and ground fennel seeds in 4tbps oil and 4oz butter until the fennel is soft then add the cubed potatoes. What you’re doing is a mixture of sauteeing and sweating the potatoes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. In between stirs keep a tight lid on so that steam can build and contribute to cooking the potatoes. Once they’re soft, mash roughly – I guess a more accurate description of what you’re aiming for here might be ‘crushed potato’ rather than mashed potato. Set aside and quickly flash fry the pork steaks in a hot pan for literally two mins each side. Rest them for one minute, cut each steak into two on the diagonal and give each guest one and half steaks each on top of a pile of the fennel potato. Finally, spoon a couple of tablespoons of the sauce over. I served mine with some steamed spring greens which took about 3 mins in a bamboo steamer.