Warm Pork Chop, Pumpkin, Tamarillo, Watercress, Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Salad

With Apple and Cider Relish

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Salads

Salads

By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

Pork chops are a really succulent cut of meat. While they may have some of that unwanted fat that dieters like to avoid, in this salad they add a juiciness that is very welcome.

I have also used tamarillos in the salad. These were called ‘tree tomatoes’ when I was a youngster growing up in New Zealand, as they really look like plum tomatoes, hanging down off their tree branches. A native of the Peruvian Andes, they have been grown commercially in New Zealand for as long as I can remember and have become more readily available here in recent years. If you can’t locate them then don’t panic – replace them with plums or tart nectarines, as what you’re after here is a fleshy sour taste.

This way of cooking the seeds is a technique my partner, Michael, has always used when making snacks – they are from his past life as a macrobiotic. Traditionally you cook them without oil, but in this recipe it adds a little moisture to the salad. They are tasty and very addictive.

Ingredients

  • 600 g pumpkin, peeled and deseeded
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for rubbing the chops
  • small handful of pumpkin seeds
  • small handful of sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large pork chops, each around 200 g, on the bone
  • 3 tamarillos (or plums), peeled and each cut into 6
  • bunch of watercress, thick stalks removed

For the Apple Cider Relish

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 apples, cored and the flesh cut into 1 cm dice
  • 1 tablespoon Demerara sugar
  • 150 ml dry cider
  • 100 ml cider vinegar

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°C, gas 7. Cut the pumpkin into wedges and place in a roasting tray lined with baking parchment. Season and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then pour on about ½ cup of hot water and roast until it’s cooked through. (You should be able to insert a knife into the thickest part easily when it’s cooked.) It will take about 40 minutes, depending on your pumpkin. Thick-fleshed, dense pumpkin will take longer.

Heat a small frying pan and add the remaining oil, then add the seeds and cook over a moderate heat to colour them. Once they’re cooked, add the soy sauce. It will steam up, so keep stirring the seeds until it evaporates, then tip on to a tray or plate to cool.

Make the apple and cider relish, sauté the onion in the oil to caramelize it, then add the remaining ingredients. Cook at a rapid simmer until the liquid has almost all evaporated, take off the heat and put to one side.

Season the pork chops and rub with a little extra oil. Heat a heavy pan, skillet, grill or barbecue and cook the chops over a moderate-to-high heat until done. No one I know likes a pork chop cooked anything less than medium well, so keep an eye on it as it cooks. The rule of thumb is to cook it mostly on the first side without turning it over. If the chop is the same as the one I cooked, about 2 cm thick, then cook it for 6 minutes on the first side, turn it over and cook for another 3. To see if it’s cooked, cut into the thickest part and prise the meat apart: it should be white with a very faint trace of pink. Once rested it will be cooked through. Take off the heat and keep warm.

While the chops are cooking, peel the tamarillo using either a potato peeler or a sharp knife. If using a knife, the best way to peel them is first to remove the stem, then cut them into sixths lengthways and peel the skin away from the flesh slowly and carefully. If using a potato peeler, remove the stem, peel them whole and then cut into 6 lengthways.

To Serve

Place the still-warm pumpkin on 4 plates. Cut the bone away from the pork and discard (after having a good chew on it), slice the meat reasonably thin and toss with the watercress, the tamarillo wedges and the seeds. Lay this over the pumpkin and spoon on the relish.