Pork, for me, is only worthwhile if the tougher cuts of the animal are used (shoulder, belly, cheeks, the leg, at a push), which are then slow cooked.
It’s the fat that gives these cuts flavour and time and effort cooking them long and slow to break down the tough connective tissues is well worth the effort.
The more tender cuts – the loin and fillet – are OK if flash-fried but many people veer away from pink pork (despite the fact that, because of increased welfare standards, it can now me served medium) so these cuts are more usually cooked until no pink remains, and thus the meat has a tendency to tighten and dry out.
But now there is a solution to this: the incredibly tender, wonderfully marbled Iberico Secreto.
I can’t put it better than blogger Chicaandaluza, who writes: “Secreto Ibérico (which translates as Iberian Secret) is a cut of meat, which comes from between the shoulder blade and the loin of the prized Iberian pigs.
“The reason this meat tastes so good is that the surface is marbled with fat. It is typically cooked over a high flame or hot griddle so the outside fat melts and gives you a fantastically crispy crust, while the meat inside stays juicy and tender.”
Unfortunately, it isn’t widely available, so you’ll have to track it down. Fortunately (for me) a new butcher’s has opened not a million miles away called Jack O’Shea which serves this magnificent delicacy.
It isn’t cheap – this gorgeous 2cm-thick slab cost £16. It was enough to serve me and my wife, though it could have stretched to four at a push.
But it is incredibly easy to cook: just drizzle it with oil and liberally sprinkle with sea salt before cooking for a couple of minutes each side in a white hot pan.
This will give you a medium finish i.e. blush pink inside, but cook it for a minute or so longer if you don’t want any blood (even though it’s perfect safe: I am not writing this post from a hospital bed, honest!).
Serve with whatever you fancy. It went brilliantly draped over salad leaves and cooled, boiled new potatoes, drizzled with Cherry Chilli Salad Dressing.