Roast pork fillet with mussels.jpg

Roast pork fillet with mussels

Having lived in Portugal for more than five years, multifaceted Rosemary Ladle is carving out a name for herself as a kitchen whiz. Between designing recipes and testing them, she is also a talented seamstress.

THIS WEEK I again pay ‘homage’ to the native cuisine of Portugal. This recipe is based on a dish with it’s origins in the Alentejo.

However, I have chosen to substitute the traditional clams for mussels.

Healthy mussels are easy to recognise. When fresh, they should smell as clean as the ocean breeze and their shells should be tightly closed.

If the mussel shells are opened slightly, give them a quick tap to be sure. If, within 30 seconds, the shells ‘clamp’ shut you know you have happy ‘mytilidae’!

To store, never cover with water or in an airtight container.

Simply place in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth then refrigerate. The mussels should be good for up to a week.

Ingredients

• 600g pork fillet

• 1kg fresh mussels (scrub with a stiff brush under running water and remove ‘beards’)

• 5 small plum tomatoes (diced)

• 1 red pepper (de-seeded and chopped)

• 2 medium onions (chopped)

• 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

• 250ml medium/dry white wine

• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley

• 1 tablespoon fresh basil

• 4 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)

• 2 teaspoons ground white pepper

• 1 teaspoon sea salt

• 1 tablespoon tomato concentrate

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.

2. In a small dish mix together one tablespoon of the olive oil, garlic, pepper and salt.

3. Brush or rub the pork fillet with this paste and place in a roasting dish. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes, basting at least once. Remove from the oven and allow to ‘rest’ for 20-30 minutes.

4. In a large non-stick frying pan heat the remaining oil and add the chopped onions. Gently cook until softened.

5. Add the chopped tomatoes and red pepper and continue cooking until they are ‘pulped’ down.

6. Pour in the wine and simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Add the mussels, cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until cooked.

8. Remove the mussels from the sauce and de-shell, discarding any that are unopened. Set to one side.

9. Stir the tomato concentrate into the tomato sauce to thicken. Then add the shelled mussels and fresh herbs.

10. Slice the pork fillet and lay evenly in the roasting dish.

11. Pour over the tomato and mussel sauce.

12. Serve with steamed or vegetable rice and fresh bread.

Shopping basket for next week:

Fresh chicken livers, parmesan, single cream. fresh sage and pasta ‘farfalle’.