When skewered between cubes of pork loin and grilled as Italian-style kebabs, prunes become addictively caramelized. Complementing the pork and prunes is a simple sauce made of walnuts, garlic, and dried cherries. Served with arugula, the dish is nutty, tangy, and naturally sweet answer to backyard barbecues.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
680 g / 1 1/2 pounds pork loin or tenderloin
6 g / 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra
1 g / 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
30 g / 1/4 cup walnuts
3 garlic cloves
12 Pitted Whole Prunes
35 g / 1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
90 ml / 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating
30 ml / 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
75 g / 3 ounces arugula
Lemon wedges, for serving
Slice pork into 2.5 to 4-cm / 1 to 1 1/2-inch cubes. Season with 5 g / 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and the pepper.
To make the soffritto, put walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Transfer to a small, heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with the oil. Put garlic in the food processor and pulse until minced.
Gradually bring the oil and walnuts to a low simmer, stirring frequently, until the walnuts start to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in minced garlic, then turn off the heat and continue to stir as the garlic cooks in the oil, about 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in cherries.
Start a grill. Have 6 skewers ready. Lightly coat the pork in olive oil and then skewer the pork, threading 2 prunes per skewer between some of the pieces. Sear the skewers over the hottest parts of the grill, then move to the side to continue to gently cook the meat until cooked through but still juicy, about 8 to 10 minutes total.
Arrange a bed of arugula on a platter. Place skewers on top. Stir lemon juice and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into soffritto and spoon over the pork and arugula. Serve with lemon wedges.