Looking for a departure from the same old barbeque fare? Executive Chef David Frakes suggests this fabulous grilled pork loin with basil-mint pesto. The technique of brining beforehand helps lighter meats such as pork pair more effectively with full-bodied red and white wines; he recommends this as a great match to both our Knights Valley Alluvium and Alluvium Blanc. Round out the menu with your favorite grilled summer vegetables for a remarkably easy and elegant meal.
Brining the pork loin before cooking both moistens the meat and improves overall flavor. For best results, brine pork loin for 2-3 days. If short on time, the loin can be cut into individual portions and cured in one day.
Place water in a large pot that can easily hold both the brining liquid and the pork loin. Add next eight ingredients, stirring for a minute or two until sugar and salt dissolve.
Place whole pork loin into brine solution and cure for 2-3 days. If the pork floats to the top, use a plate or other weight to keep it completely submerged in the brine.
When ready to cook, remove loin from brine solution and pat dry. Cut into individual portions about 1 ½-inches thick. Lightly oil both sides and season with salt and pepper.
Prepare grill at high heat. Cook pork 2-3 minutes per "mark", effectively grilling each side twice to achieve a crosshatch pattern. Total cooking time will be about 10-12 minutes, with an internal temperature of 150º to 160º.
This modern twist on traditional basil pesto brings in cool mint and other subtle, exotic flavors.
In a small skillet, lightly toast coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds over moderate heat until fragrantâ€”about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Use a spice (or coffee) grinder to grind into a fine powder.
In a blender or food processor, combine basil with mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Puree until smooth. Stir in the ground spices. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate until needed, allowing to warm to room temperature before serving. Serve either drizzled on top of pork loin or on the side.
Executive Chef David Frakes